5. ColdFusion
June 25, 2007 3:40 PM   Subscribe

The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills. "Obsolescence is a relative -- not absolute -- term in the world of technology."
posted by caddis (66 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, ColdFusion... Last one out plz turn off MetaFilter?
posted by klangklangston at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2007

Unobservant snarker misses title; shames self.
posted by klangklangston at 3:46 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yea, and MFM hard drive installers. And Floppy disk drive repairmen. And Scsi Scanner installation techs... This is not a good post. Of course there are jobs that will come and go. Anyone install asbestos lately?
posted by tomas316 at 3:47 PM on June 25, 2007

I thought the list would include a few things other than obsolescent technologies.

For example, I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts, or even keyboard shortcuts during their day-to-day computing. The ease of using the mouse has killed off more efficient keyboard/text-based commands, which require at least a minimal amount of memorisation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:53 PM on June 25, 2007

A lot of folks still use keyboard shortcuts. Blind folks, especially. My blind coworker, she's mean with a keyboard shortcut, but not so much with the mouse.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:56 PM on June 25, 2007

"I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts, or even keyboard shortcuts during their day-to-day computing."

I'm sure fewer people are learning them, but once learned, they are incredibly helpful. Mousing is great for casual computing, but spend all day editing a Word document without taking your hand off the mouse and it's carpal tunnel syndrome time. I loved command line prompts - and still use them when I can - I guess I just hate the mouse.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:57 PM on June 25, 2007

Assembly language?

(Also, despite the snark about ColdFusion, this is no criticism of Matt. His skill is providing content, constructing a community site, at which he is brilliant. ColdFusion was hot, and seemingly powerful, when he constructed MefaFilter.)
posted by caddis at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2007


Oh, wait, wrong thread.
posted by GuyZero at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Keyboard shortcuts are definitely still in full effect. Anyone who I've seen do design or layout is blazing with them, and I still use a handful in my day-to-day.
posted by klangklangston at 4:06 PM on June 25, 2007

Yeah, C is totally dead. Hurrrrr. I guess this guy has never done any console programming, which is entirely C and C++.
posted by secret about box at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2007

Obligatory MUMPS mention.

Although, arguably, it could be classified under #2, Nonrelational Databases.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2007

Ha. At least all those overpaid, undertrained Powerbuilder developers I knew in the 90s had some cold water slapped in their faces, too.

Anyway, a lot of cc:Mail installations "upgraded" tp Lotus Notes. Who knows what they use today.

It's scary how much my resume resembles this list, though. Not like I didn't try to become non-obsolescent.
posted by dhartung at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2007

The ease of using the mouse has killed off more efficient keyboard/text-based commands...

Speak for yourself. My modus operatingsystemi for GUIs is to use them to tile 147 command windows so I can type what I want (or better yet, retrieve from my command history) rather than laboriously choose menu options and click buttons.
posted by DU at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

"I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts, or even keyboard shortcuts during their day-to-day computing."

If the internet didn't pretty much run on Linux, I'd almost believe you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

C coders? Network Admins? Umm, no.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2007

A friend of mine in the CS department took what was promoted as Ball State's last ever COBOL class.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

How about...

11. Realizing that without users, you don't have a job.

And, yes, I am an admin with a global company...
posted by Samizdata at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2007

While the article is right about C only programmers no longer existing, anyone who's had their time in the UNIX trenches still knows it, and many others besides.

Also, I'm going to throw in another disagreement with Ubu...keyboard shortcuts have been widely neglected for many many years now, but anyone who has any concern for efficiency knows them and knows them well. They won't be going away any time soon...programmers and creative types would riot.

I'll agree that CLIs may have become a thing for fanatics only, but fanatics have quite a bit to do with the pretty GUIs you get to use. :)
posted by invitapriore at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2007

On preview, Pope Guilty expresses it quite well.
posted by invitapriore at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2007

C is dead? Shit, I guess I better stop running linux.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2007

This article has already been totally slammed on slashdot, especially for including C. Yawn.
posted by hexatron at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2007

"I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts, or even keyboard shortcuts during their day-to-day computing."

My CAD computing experience is almost entirely hotkeys. If it weren't, I'd have to go back to the digitizer pad, have my screen almost entirely taken up by toolbars, or waste time dealing with a pulldown menu for every command. With my current setup, I don't even have a "draw" or "modify" toolbar open because I handle all of those commands with hotkeys.
posted by LionIndex at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2007

Keyboard shortcuts rule. I say this as a Mac person. Did you know Macs used to come without keyboards?
posted by infinitewindow at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2007

Normally I'd add "believing anything you hear on Slashdot" to the list, but in this case they appear to be quite correct.
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2007

UbuRoivas -
"I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts, or even keyboard shortcuts during their day-to-day computing."

Speaking as someone who suffers from RSI, whose partner suffers from RSI, and who knows large numbers of computer professionals who suffer from RSI ... the keyboard shortcut is certainly not dead. Without them, I would wish I was.

Additionally, I use command line prompts all the time. And batch files, or bash scripts, depending on OS. It's a lot more efficient to just type something, rather than have to reach over, grab the mouse, point it at the right thing, wait, select the option I want, often click again, maybe have to type something or select something from a list ... before *finally* actually getting to execute the command I could have accessed in perhaps 10 keystrokes. Sure, there's a learning curve, which has been discussed to death on the internets, but there doesn't seem to be an argument: once the investment has been made to learn the required commands, it is vastly more efficient to use keyboard input instead of mouse input day-to-day, for a variety of tasks.
posted by ysabet at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2007

C programming
As the Web takes over, C languages are also becoming less relevant, according to Padveen.

I know a disgustingly fat C guy. He never shuts up about C, and how it's great because of pointers. I mean he really goes on and on about pointers.

I wish he would just shut the fuck up.
posted by four panels at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2007 [6 favorites]

Hm. A casual, anecdotal observation (from an IT pro, FWIW) on keyboard shortcuts has brought out all the equally anecdotal "but I use them!" comments.

I think it's no surprise that power users of certain apps - like CAD or DTP - would make the investment to learn them, as would people suffering RSI.

I think the casual office end-user rarely makes that kind of investment, in my observation (c'mon, ctrl-B is *so* much simpler than pausing your typing to click the B-button!) but I guess I was also thinking back to pre-GUI days when you'd have all these templates & flipbooks that overlaid your function keys (etc), so that for each specific app, you'd be able to learn, eventually, which key did what. Also, laminated guides to all the keyboard shortcuts, stuck up all around users' monitors...
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:51 PM on June 25, 2007

How about custom autoexec.bat and config.sys files to get enough free memory to run half the games for DOS?
posted by autodidact at 4:55 PM on June 25, 2007

Assembly language?

So obsolete that even someone writing about obsolete tech forgot it even exists.

I've used 6 of those computer skills, but lucky for me, they're mostly forgotten. Except for C. C is good. All those pointers! I mean, you don't often need to have pointers to arrays of functions, but when you do, there they are.
posted by sfenders at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2007

Keyboard shortcuts? Dead? That'll only happen when they kill the keyboard. Then it'll be [insert input device here] shortcuts.

As for my personal favourite obsolete computer skill missing from the list? Let me introduce you to my friends HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE. I'm glad I don't have to ever worry about extended/expanded memory ever again.
posted by chrominance at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

On post-post, for autodidact: JINX
posted by chrominance at 4:59 PM on June 25, 2007

Funny, I was also thinking of MUMPS. Wonderful language. The more pain it can cause, the better it was written.

Yes, Afroblanco, it's very, very dead. But very, very critical to the VA and IHS. And if it was all I knew & used, I'd go nuts.

Ironic that most of my work is in ColdFusion and MUMPS.
posted by volk at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I guess the software company I work for is going out of business because we use obsolete technology! (C and a non-SQL database)

It's actually really sad that SQL dominates the industry so much. SQL is in no way adequate for the needs of a MMO (unless you purchase $1 million hard drives like Eve did), and I had a really hard time finding new research on non-sql databases.
posted by JZig at 5:13 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

To comment on the article itself (best of the web, I tell you), Sk4n, Chief Executive and President of Sk4n Global Consultants (of Weschester, NY and Galway, Ireland), recommends that journalists writing easy top-ten lists get a few less obvious sources than their college buddies.
posted by Sk4n at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2007

The guy who created the Web page I edit constantly defends the fact that he did it in ColdFusion by pointing to MetaFilter.

Rex, I know you're here somewhere. Let's hope I'm the only MnSpeaker to read this post.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

So what is this list going to look like in ten years? Twenty? I'm always worried that I'm going to run my career into a dead end. But then I'm still programming C using vi and compiling it using cc many years after 4th generation languages were supposed to obsolete all that.
posted by octothorpe at 5:46 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

"A lot of folks still use keyboard shortcuts."

A lot of folks had better. In Photoshop alone, it's been measured many times that the speed difference between people who know and use the keyboard shortcuts and those who don't is a factor of 10 in favor of keyboard shortcuts.

There's been some push here at our company to get everyone to learn the shortcuts in Photoshop and 3DSMax (not to mention using more Actions and other scripting) because we know we might be able to quadruple productivity.

Having or not having that skill can make or break your company in a competitive business. Learn the shortcuts!!

"I guess this guy has never done any console programming, which is entirely C and C++."

The article did say C++ is going fine. Console is starting to move up to C Sharp now, at least we are...

"I'm glad I don't have to ever worry about extended/expanded memory ever again."

Amen to that!! Whew!
posted by zoogleplex at 5:48 PM on June 25, 2007

"Assembly language?

So obsolete that even someone writing about obsolete tech forgot it even exists."

My ex-uncle still uses it, or did a year ago. He codes cell phone hardware functions.
posted by klangklangston at 5:49 PM on June 25, 2007

The original Lotus 123 was written in assembly language and even on a 4.77 MHz processor it blazed (I had turbo, 8.0 MHz, so it was, well..., only slightly faster).
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM on June 25, 2007

> Assembly language?

In particular, Apple ][ assembly language? What am I bid for m4d App][ ASM sk1L|z? Don't all speak at once.

> My ex-uncle still uses it, or did a year ago. He codes cell phone hardware functions.

Probably not all that uncommon, bearing in mind that the vast majority of the world's computers are embedded chips running telephone relays, toaster ovens, programmable doorbells and so on.
posted by jfuller at 6:08 PM on June 25, 2007

I just FPP's John Cowan's homepage, but this seems like an appropriate place to link to his Horrors of Cobol.
posted by escabeche at 6:22 PM on June 25, 2007

As a CS major at CU Boulder, I can tell you that Assembly is most certainly not dead. Yes, it's low level. But it's also taught extensively and is extremely useful on basically any computers in the world that aren't notebooks or desktops.
posted by danman_d at 6:23 PM on June 25, 2007

Oh wow, a real live MUMPS programmer!

I have to admit that, after reading about MUMPS, I did kinda become fascinated with it. I mean, here is a language and environment that basically contradicts everything I've ever learned about computer science and "the right way to do things."

The scary part is that, back in its day, MUMPS was probably hot shit. It's a bit painful to think about how all technologies that I know and love will someday wind up like MUMPS - if they're lucky to even last that long.

So tell me, is it really as awful as they say? I imagine that having the ability to jump to anywhere within any routine at any given time would drive me batshitinsane within a few weeks.

Is there even an upgrade path for MUMPS code? Has anyone tried to make tools to translate MUMPS code into a different language? Would that even be possible, given MUMPS' unique feature set?

Does MUMPS even use a call-stack?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:33 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think the casual office end-user rarely makes that kind of investment, in my observation
The casual office user is using Office, and I wonder if the perceived lack of keyboard-shortcut-awareness is more indicative of its qualities, than any failing on the part of its users.

In the other apps that people live in, keyboard shortcuts are well-known and quickly learned. Photoshop is a great example of this. Imagers and photographers are as far away as possible from the image of a tubby emacs-wielding command-line C dudes, but frequent users look like they're typing into the damn thing. An image editor!

Quark's a similar one, it's incredibly difficult to use without keyboard modifiers (although I know one genius-level designer who plugs away, refusing to touch the keyboard except to type text. He even clicks the magnify tool!).
posted by bonaldi at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2007

As a CS major at CU Boulder, I can tell you that Assembly is most certainly not dead.

True, that. I must apologize to the gods for implying that it could be considered dying. It has however retreated a bit from its former ubiquity. Along with such skills as reading a schematic, it's no longer put to quite the same range of uses it once was. I guess C is in the same category of things not presently at any risk of death, but receding further into the background shadows of the software world.
posted by sfenders at 6:46 PM on June 25, 2007

I know plain vanilla C with Assembly for optimization was still pretty popular in the embedded field when I was still doing embedded work a few years ago. I have to think this person is limiting himself to a Windows view of the world.
posted by inthe80s at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2007

I know I am geek, really geek, as I love assembly language, I mean I really love it. It is so compact, so efficient, so fucking fast, make that 64 fuckings.

I hardly ever use it anymore, as now I get money for words not code lines, but when I do, it is kind of geekalicious.

I was just at a car show the other day and looking at a rodded Model A that pulls low 11's, and with a few tweaks could easily be into the 10's (and for the uninitiated that is really, really, really fast). Assembly language programming is like that ancient speedster.
posted by caddis at 7:14 PM on June 25, 2007

6. C programming

Damn. If only some embedded systems were needed out there to pick up the slack...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:18 PM on June 25, 2007

Man fuck Powerbuilder. Fuck it right in the ear.

I had a year where I had to use that accussed thing, and I don't think I'll ever recover.

I'm glad to see it dead. I'm glad.
posted by Imperfect at 7:54 PM on June 25, 2007

No bit-patching ?
posted by rfs at 8:07 PM on June 25, 2007

FoxPro anyone?

I'm not sure any skill really "dies", so much as becoming not saught-after.

I have a coworker who specializes in 3D graphics, who prefers vi to all other text editors. vi is 13 years older than he is.
posted by Foosnark at 8:18 PM on June 25, 2007

Delphi. (please?)
posted by blue_beetle at 9:18 PM on June 25, 2007

Afroblanco - I'm being a bit disingenius by calling myself a "MUMPS Programmer." I have done some programming in it and have reverse-engineered tons of it. But to compare myself to the old-time guys? Oh, no - some of the things they pull off... well, I'm getting to be of the opinion that modern programmers (including myself) are too generalized across platforms & languages to truly appreciate how powerful some of these older platforms work.

That being said, it's not as bad as that article (which I love, btw) portrays it. First, it's not necessarily a dying language - it's now known as Cache Object Script (it was M-script in between). They're trying to get away from the name, which is most of the problem from a marketing standpoint. Cache & MUMPS run all of the VA hospitals' HIS as well as IHS (Indian Health Service) - and the queries return mighty quickly. The database itself is OO instead of relational. Remember CS classes that teach out OO database design in relational databases? They're all faking it - but you don't realize until you've used something like Cache. Cache is definately powerful & works far better with those giant databases then many of its competitors. Old MUMPsters claim it's better than Oracle (based on our local Oracle install, I'd second that - but I know Oracle can & should run better).

From a programming standpoint - I don't think it's that bad. I was a VB 5 programmer turned VB6 turned Web (ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, Perl/CGI) turned .NET (some C#, mostly VB.NET) turned ColdFusion programmer. With a confusing combo of functional and OO languages, I didn't find the structure to be difficult at all. The jumping around? Just a perspective shift. It's really no different than includes & functions or instantiating an object & calling a method (depending on frame of reference). The syntax is quicker, though, and implied by the platform. Function names can be a bugger, and there aren't that many of 'em, so you have to be... inventive.

No, the painful part about MUMPS is (like most languages) the garbage that the other (older, often untrained) programmers wrote. And by garbage, I mean that there are often dumb mistakes, like you find in PHP open source projects (think about all the XSS exploits that we see in bugtraq). Check that, by garbage I also mean really really abstract concepts that someone really, really intelligent put together. And didn't comment because it was obvious (and common sense) at the time. Now reverse engineer it to figure out what's going on. Enjoy!

Actually, even at that it's not too bad. If you're familiar with decoding obfuscated Perl (or just used to writing extremely abstracted Perl functions), at least.

Oh, but what I like about it... well, the things we've pulled off with MUMPS and Intersystems Cache database: using MUMPS to populate a computed field that returns as a column in a query can be sharp. It's like running "SELECT AGE FROM PERSON" in sql server where AGE is computed from date of birth. Only instead of SQL server running the computation as a stored proc, it's a pre-compiled C routine that's optimized for the local processor. Complex stuff is quick & cool. And query syntax itself - ANSI92 compliant, but the internal stuff is logical and efficient.

So there you go - a novel in a post!
posted by volk at 9:34 PM on June 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Hah! Thanks, volk. It's good to hear that there are some good things about MUMPS. The DailyWTF article made it sound like a walking nightmare!

Still, I wonder what the future will hold for MUMPS. Will the same MUMPS code that was written 30 years ago still be running 30 years from now?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2007

Punched cards are almost obsolete. There are no longer key punch operators, and practically no current computers have card readers. Thus there is no longer the army of engineers who knew about the problems and quirks in such systems.

However this obscure obsolete technology lingers on in some voting machines (remember "hanging chad"?). I guess if there is a technology that can help fix elections certain interests don't want to abandon it.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:55 PM on June 25, 2007

For example, I am guessing that pretty much nobody anymore uses things like batch files, command line prompts

Vista is bringing back the command line: its a hell of a lot easier to hit <windows key> and type CALC (or any other program or documentname) than to do: <start>->Programs->Accessories->Calculator...
(this is the only good thing I have found so far in vista...)

posted by nielm at 9:57 PM on June 25, 2007

"As the Web takes over, C languages are also becoming less relevant"

He realizes all the high-level tools people are using to develop web content rely on tools that are written in C, running on operating systems written in C? Right?

I can understand that proportionally, there is less market for this skill. Not because it is becoming "less relevant", but because it has stayed the same while there is a larger market for high-level applications.

The list is alright if you ignore this item. And to the poster above, command line use is alive and kicking. I think people forget that a lot of the fancy technology they enjoy as an end-user is driven by a UNIX back-end. No, I don't use a GUI when administering a FreeBSD server cluster.
posted by cj_ at 9:58 PM on June 25, 2007

Low level languages will never go away for reasons that should be obvious, although they're more in the realm of electrical engineers today. I had to take assembly in college, and I'm sure it's still required. If you're an EE you need to learn this chain of topics from the bottom up (although you generally learn them in reverse order):

Semiconductor physics -> circuits (making logic gates from transistors on the digital side) -> sequential logic -> assembler.

Someone will always have to be around to design that processor.
posted by MillMan at 12:05 AM on June 26, 2007

I wonder how much FORTRAN is still out there.

And as for COBOL, I know my hometown's community college IT program still offered a two-course sequence in it because area businesses still use it. One instructor averred, "I think Java's the greatest thing to happen to computing in a while, but COBOL still brings home the groceries."

Since 2000, I've worked in two banks where COBOL was still used, and none of the maintainers was under 40. I agree that Y2K was largely the last hurrah, and when IT managers start telling CIOs that they can't find qualified people to fix or enhance COBOL and JCL anymore, it'll be further impetus to migrate to another platform.
posted by pax digita at 2:52 AM on June 26, 2007

Fortran is still out there in the scientific computing community. You know that Linpack benchmark used to determine the top 500 supercomputers? Fortran. You know what that software determining orbits for NASA satellites is written in? Fortran. You know what has to be installed in your computer before you can install that nifty SciPy library of scientific computing tools you can use with Python? Yep, Fortran.
posted by needled at 3:17 AM on June 26, 2007

The longer you've been around, the more technologies on that list you've worked in/with. Count me in for more than half of the list.

I wonder what causes a tool to have staying power any more, how the market controls what is used? In the PC world .NET is hot right now, but it's sure getting to seem like bloatware to me. Still, it has the power of microsoft behind it.

And I laughed out loud when I got to the end of number 9 on the list: "...an AS/400 (iSeries) recruiting company."
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:31 AM on June 26, 2007

I don't think any of these technologies are dead or on their way out, but I do see a distinct difference from those in the list and what skills have a broad range of usefulness. As SteveInMaine mentions, "The longer you've been around, the more technologies on that list you've worked in/with." This is entirely the mindset of today's professional, who instead of focusing on a limited and single purpose technology...builds an vast set of skills that shows understanding or competence in them.

Sure, a programmer that focuses soley on COBOL might face a huge problem in getting a job these days....but a proficient Java/C++/COBOL/VB/ColdFusion/Perl developer is a relative gold mine...especially for a company that just happens to have one of those legacy COBOL servers still sitting in the back of the server room. The key thing to keep in mind is that any technology that was once useful can still find its usefulness today...just you don't really find single-focus technical jobs anymore, the playing field has evolved and technical experts need working knowledge on a lot of different tools...old and new.
posted by samsara at 6:27 AM on June 26, 2007

And I laughed out loud when I got to the end of number 9 on the list: "...an AS/400 (iSeries) recruiting company."

As did I. My first computer job was programming in RPG II on an IBM System/34 with a 69MB Hard drive the size of a filing cabinet. And I thought that was chickbait.

Many of these skills are no longer needed for most but for the dedicated and select few, still very necessary. For example, Windows batch file programming and scripting isn't nor should it be necessary for the masses who work on PCs but still relevant for me. A thorough knowledge of "DOS" commands and Windows scripting is very much important. Sort of like how an automatic tranny is fine for most people, but for truckers, hobbyists or drivers on winding Italian roads, you need a stick.

My list of former areas of expertise includes; Authorware and Director (I doubt Lingo programmers can write their own paycheck nowadays), the much beloved PICK OS which I had intimate knowledge of in the early 90s. I miss it like my first puppy. I know there are still lots of installations out there but it is definitely, if not the 8-track, then the reel-to-reel of this discussion.

I would add VRML, which never took off much to my chagrin, but there were probably few VRML experts to lose jobs.
posted by xetere at 10:02 AM on June 26, 2007

Where's RPG?
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 AM on June 26, 2007

You kids get off my lawn!
posted by jockc at 10:27 AM on June 26, 2007

Afroblanco - I dunno. I don't think MUMPS as you're thinking of it is gonna die completely for another 30 years at least, but that's because it's intimately tied with the medical systems. If we want to pull up archives over the next 30+ years, then it'll be alive. The language is that strictly tied in to the data structure.

It's kinda hard to explain. See, the Cache DB has the backwards compatibility for the old Fileman systems. But they're not the same - they just map between the newer system and the older (older MUMPSters will smack me for that description). And support the older filesystem en masse.

So ultimately, if VA and IHS really wanted, they would have to create Class definitions for all of the old globals (globals = old data structure). Assuming everything is perfect, then that would get them an ODBC-like interface along with all of the more modern Cache stuff. At that point, they could re-write all of the MUMPS into Java, VB, web app, you name it.

But it's a heckuvalotta work just to get there.

If you want to dink around with it, go to Intersystems and download their demo of Cache 5.2. That's not as stable as 5.0 (it's fine, but we were advised away from it since lives depend on our data). This download will effectively be like an MSDE install or Oracle XE. Perfect for playing and learning, somewhat restricted for live projects.

Anyway, grab that & install it somewhere - I did it originally on WinXP in VMWare. Then go through the "Cache Object Script" tutorial. Cache Object Script is MUMPS (think of it as "new MUMPS").

You'll get a feel for it that way. Seriously not that bad. Then look at the legacy stuff & you'll understand the complain. The DailyWTF article is awesome (they're not wrong on anything they say, mind you), but it's written from a... well, let's call it a "Microsoft Perspective." Thinking of programming from a single perspective, instead of shifting to a different frame of reference.

Man, did it again. Another novel.
posted by volk at 11:02 AM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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