Prompted by Mitch Denny who was in turn prompted by Paul Stovell, I am also exercising my Smart Art prowess in the name of proclaiming what I love, declaiming what I respect, and mentioning what I’d rather sweep under the carpet.
I’ve always found the world of software development, like much else in life and the world of work, to be a dynamic tension between the utterly mundane and the downright dreary. My solution to the tedium of my working life is to try to find significance in what I do. Naturally, that leads me towards the abstract away from the specific. You’re not going to find any products or APIs on this list, they’re too ephemeral - too tied up in the mundane business of making a living. I want to give you a list of the ideas that got me out of bed, not the tools that kept me from it.
Ideas are what really lights my candle. Ideas give you a framework for thinking about the world - or those bits of it you model. When I’m trying to give junior developers or lay-people an insight into what I love about programming and computer science, I normally tell them: Programming is cool because no matter how dull the task you’re performing, if you scratch the surface you can find deep and beautiful ideas. I pity those who, only in it for the money, don’t see the hidden beauty in what they do.
I’ve been writing a bit about functional programming, LINQ and Semantic Web technologies lately, and I hesitated even to put them in. If I read this post 10 years from now, would I care about the fads and factions that entertains us so much at the moment? I doubt it. I do think that Web 3.0 will be the everyday paradigm for development and I’ll still be getting a kick out of things like LINQ that are mathematical structures thinly veiled as language features.
If I could jump forward ten years from now, I’d be pleasantly surprised at the declarative and intentional power latent in the average statement I’ll be writing. I get much more done using hybrid techniques in C# in 2008 than I ever got done using ATL on C++ in 1998. My core passions now are what will give rise to - or still be central to - the programming paradigms of the second and third decades of the 21st century. I hope I’m still around and programming then.
OK. That’s my 2c. I’d like to hear what the following folks care about: Derek Matthews, Richard Luckman, Matthew Hellicar, Dom De Vitto, and Andreas Peifke.
Sadly, none of them write blogs or have web presences outside of Flickr. I wonder whether that will be any different in 10 year’s time? Perhaps they will reply to this if they read blogs instead…