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Re: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions

I think Howard Rheingold is right.  Web designers have no memory.

Of course not - but how is that different from any other generation's approach to computing? XML was largely created by people who had forgotten many of the lessons of the old fuddy-duddies in the SGML generation. Java was built to be a better cooler C++, and in the end it has ended up becoming just as hide-bound and crusty.  Name me a hot technology today and I can likely point to a hot technology from yesterday that solved nearly the same problems in nearly the same way.

The truth here is that for many developers, their PRIMARY programming language is JavaScript, they have at best only a marginal understanding of OOP principles, design patterns or algorithms, and their primary experience with programming environments is the browser. They want to use the paradigm they grew up with, and are far more concerned about flash and magic than substance and design, so they rely upon "frameworks" that get them 95% of the way there and hope that they can jump the remaining 5%.

You could argue that this means that these programmers are of poorer quality than the ones that came of age in our generation, and to a certain extent I'd agree with you ... but only up to a point. The bad ones end up getting promoted up to management, the good ones continue to strengthen their understanding, and bring a fresh perspective to such applications. Certainly I'd argue that this generation of programmers understands distributed, asynchronous programming far better, because latency, which is a fairly minor issue within desktop applications, looms huge in web apps. We are reaching a stage now where new programmers in the field come in with a basic understanding of XML, HTTP programming, and the like - something that we had to learn by creating - and so they start from a base that is in many ways considerably more sophisticated than the ones we had.

Ten years from now, the bulk of all programming will be declarative (and fungible), with a layer of imperative bindings to provide integration.  Whether it will be XML or not is debatable, but the long term trends currently would seem to say yes. Many of the programming methodologies that we take for granted today will be obsolete and perhaps even considered eminently bad practice. And ten years from now, the hotshot AJAX programmers of today will be bemoaning the sorry state of programmers, because they can barely write a decent Javascript file - but man, the things they can do with XML!

Kurt Cagle

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