I have been writing code professionally for about 20 years now. Here is an homage to the programming languages that I used to be friends with but have lost contact (no love lost). In chronological order:
- Atari 800 Basic
- DEC Fortran (written on a DEC Writer, no terminal!)
- DEC Pascal
- DEC COBOL
- Mac Hypercard (on a Mac Classic, circa 1988)
- Mac Filemaker
- MVS 360 Assembler
- MVS COBOL
- Borland Turbo Pascal (my introduction to OOP)
- Borland Turbo C++
- Microsoft C
- Microsoft GW-Basic
- Visual Basic 1.0 up to .NET
- Visual C++
- Sybase Transact-SQL (which turned into Microsoft Transact-SQL)
- Borland Paradox
- Powerbuilder (this is getting embarrassing)
- Java (J2EE, JSP, Struts, blah, blah, blah)
- ASP 3.0 and ASP.NET
I won’t mention the various third-part IT tools with their own proprietary scripting languages which I would rather forget about.
Now, here is the live list of programming languages and technologies:
- MySQL (and yes, Mr. Morris…PostgreSQL)
- HTML, XHTML, XML, all the MLs
- (and if you pay me enough I will do .NET and SQL Server)
Things Change Fast!
One thing I have done right is to keep abreast of changing technologies. I’m always learning. This is one reason I have had some moderate success in my career as a developer and have not gone the way of the COBOL dinosaurs.
I look back and laugh thinking about the paradigm shifts that promised to change the world: client-server, three-tier, n-tier, Java write-once run anywhere (croak), SOA, and on and on. Front-end and middle-tier technologies seem to change every three years or so. But throughout my career there is one thing that has pretty much remained the same: relational databases.
Show Me the Data
I started using SQL back around 1994 with Sybase. I can say that every month of my life since 1994 I have been writing SQL code. The actual databases have been different–Sybase, MS SQL, Oracle, DB2, MySQL–but the standard language and more importantly the logical design of relational databases have remained the same.
Show me the data and I will understand the application.
I have definitely found that to be true. Whenever I write an app I start with the db design and whenever I am trying to figure out somebody’s code (happens a lot), the first place I look is at the db.
How Long Will SQL Last?
I think SQL is here to stay for a long time. The APIs are changing and web scripting is starting to move away from talking directly to the DB. However, when it comes down to actually storing and retrieving the data you’re going to be using SQL, probably MySQL or PostgreSQL nowadays if you’re on the web and MS SQL, Oracle and DB2 in IT.
Are you starting in your career as a developer? My advice, learn SQL and try to stay ahead of the curve with everything else.
P.S. HTML deserves an honorable mention as the technology that has lasted and will continue to last for a while.
What programming languages are in your dead pool?