Big Boy and Big Girl Coding

November 30, 2009

I read “Microsoft’s Top Developers Prefer Old-Schoool Coding Methods” and compared that information with my Google research. I won’t bore you with too many comments. First, let me point your attention to what I found an interesting passage in the ComputerWorld write up:

“Graphical programming environments are usable when they are useless, but unusable when they would be useful,” said Jeffrey Snover, another Microsoft distinguished engineer and creator of Microsoft’s PowerShell scripting tool for Windows. “When there are five things on the screen, you can burp that out [in text]. But when there are 500 things, [graphical programming] is completely unusable. You zoom in and zoom out and you lose all context. I think it’s just smokin’ dope.”

Microsoft has been pushing graphical programming tools forward with each release of its flagship coding air craft carrier, VisualStudio.

I am neither Googley nor a coder of note. However, in my research I had to nose around the Google’s open source informatoin about programming. The Googlers operate a bit like an old feudal system. The boys and girls at the top can code pretty much any way their fancy takes them. The criticism from their peers makes an approach sink at the dock or make it into the Google ocean. Among the languages that the open source information suggests is partially in favor is my old favorie  Haskell, a lazy like a goose functional programming language. Below the top boys and girls are more everyday tools; for example, Google’s once-revered Sawzall and one of Google’s own tools, Noop. I don’t want to forget python because it is easy to love python when the person who wrote it may be playing Foosball down the hall.

The lower level code, if my understanding of certain Google patent documents is on target, seems to be done with increasing frequency by semi-autonomous software agents. I describe some of these in my Google Computational Intelligence briefing. The general idea is that smart Googlers can be put to better use than doing certain types of coding. Google’s coding horizons are wide. References to Java, perl, and other tools can be found in the Google open source technical documents. Heck, I have seen reports of SQL queries used to make MySQL perform some Googley tricks.

I describe other ways Google reduces the “heavy lifting” for an individual coder. You can find that information in Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator. I am confident the new Google TV show will dive right into Google’s janitors and their clever methods of resolving ambiguity for certain tasks.

My take-away. Google uses certain methods. Microsoft uses similar methods. What’s the marketplace say? You have to answer that for yourself. I like the approach that reduces costs and development.

Stephen Arnold, November 30, 2009

I want to disclose to the Office of Science and Technology Policy that no one paid me to write about this exciting topic.


One Response to “Big Boy and Big Girl Coding”

  1. Googleverse on December 1st, 2009 7:25 am

    I like this quote – ““Graphical programming environments are usable when they are useless, but unusable when they would be useful”

    How about google’s new language – go ?

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