Great article on how we can develop the tools today that help people in the future when we don’t know what our tools will be used for.
I’m going to print this out and put it on my wall. In 5 years time if my computer doesn’t smell when I fart i’m going to send a nasty letter to the BBC saying they lied.
I love programming, I spent a small part of Christmas Day playing with backbone.js. I did a lot more other things like eating and being merry but programming seems to be escape for me.
Occasionally I look back on the toolkits / frameworks / APIs I have used and wonder am I doing the right thing here by using this framework. Is what I build now going to be supportable, easy to maintain and (hopefully) expandable, not just the app I write but what my app is built on.
Take this picture of a 1930s (i think) car stacker for example
At the time I’m sure the inventors and engineers who built this thought it was a great idea. I’m sure the guys were patting themselves on the back and saying things like ‘Look how much more efficient this is…’. And it is a great idea.
But why don’t you see these on the side of 20 storey buildings in the city? Instead you see undercover parking under those buildings or large parking lots that you drive into, they take up way more space and you have to search for your car. There may be a couple in lavish areas of a city, but it isn’t a common sight.
This leads me to my dilemma. Sometimes I start playing with a new technology and I wonder if this is going to last. Should I invest my time in figuring out how to use this framework or am I better off sticking with what I know.
It’s a scary thought because the idea illustrated in the picture seems like it should be a winner. But I’m sure limiting factors like the cars weight, shape, size and not to mention how do you get your car when the machine is broken, have all contributed to this idea being put in the ‘forget’ tray. And probably for good reason.
It’s a hard to think ahead and question the viability of a framework. Long lasting ramifications are always the result of these sorts of decisions, both for you and for people that hire / depend on you. The funny thing is there is no wrong or write answer, it’s just a decision you need to make.
I will play and tinker with a framework until it ticks all the boxes for me. Then I will encourage my colleges and friends to play with the framework and we discuss what are the good and bad points and see if it does everything need.
The big part is looking for evidence to say ‘this will save us in the long run’. This can be very difficult because no one knows what the future brings but as you gain experience hopefully this knowledge makes your decisions easier.
Always think about what you are looking at, is this new product going to truly save you time in your environment or should this salesman peddle his wares elsewhere.