Poplog Will Eat Itself

Last night I went out for Birmingham Tech Drinks. I explained to someone how I decided to become a Business Analyst 10 years ago then got involved in introducing Agile software product development which has led me full circle back to wanting to write code, for the first time since about 1984. When I last created software there was a VT100 terminal on my desk. It could only do characters, lines and boxes. My last program had windows, because I’d seen a Mac. I coded it myself. I was designing top-down, writing in structured languages and storing data to the file system. There were no bit-mappable displays, objects or relational databases and the web hadn’t been invented. The Internet was about somewhere. I knew someone who’d seen it.

I’ve been assuming that I needed to catch up with all the changes in development that I had missed but current software trends have looped back to the eighties. Is a Google Chromebook really very different to an X terminal? Is The Cloud more than an infinite VM/CMS mainframe? In the last couple of days, I’ve realised that the circle is even more complete than that. Trendy developers have given up on relational databases, preferring to use NoSQL database systems that store their data in what look very like JSON or XML files. That’s just a merged distributed data dictionary and file system.

Today, I’ve remembered another reason I became a Business Analyst. I was too exhausted by running against the spin-rate of change to want to retrain as a specialist in yet another new technology. Instead, I went into a nice stable job where nothing had changed for years, where I learned UML, introduced Free software and fought to use Agile methods, making Business Analysts in software teams redundant (maybe.) I can already see the same ‘change stress’ in people half my age as they try to learn the must-have JavaScript library of the month. It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t keep looping back and forgetting what we learned, but that happens when you burn-out and carelessly dispose of your most important assets, your people.

The advantage of the experience of going round the wheel a few times is that you can guess what is going to go wrong next and be ready with a solution. Make room young people, I can help with this.

Poplog was a trendy 80s AI language. It should be back round again in a bit.


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