And interestingly enough, a lot of what we do is the same as what we used to do, just in a slightly different venue. One of my favorite old saws is that everything was written in the 60's and we've just been reimplementing it. There's a grain of truth in that: with the exception of object-oriented programming, there hasn't been a whole lot of fundamentally "new" stuff in some time. Heck, SOA is recycled n-tier processing, which itself was a new name for peer-to-peer, which grew out of client/server. Maybe virtualization, although we've had emulators for a long time.

The differences in programming languages are pretty few and fundamental. OO vs procedural, compiled vs. interpreted, static typing vs. dynamic. Most scripting languages are syntax differences from one another, most GUIs have the same basic concepts. The issue is where you focus your time, which is why I like RPG, Java and EGL: most of my time is spent designing my database, my classes and my records. That is, I'm data centric, and that makes me take more time up front to design my system. The more dynamic a language gets, the more it invites hacking (the dark side of rapid application development) in which you write some code to get something to work and then tweak it. The problem is that despite the best intentions the old code tends to stay around and then it gets cloned and suddenly it becomes "standard" (don't believe me? then why does everyone have a folder called WEB-INF?).

And that's part of the reason you see 30-year old RPG code, because it was designed well up front and still does exactly what it was intended to do.


I started writing RPG in '86. I wrote my first code for an employer in '79. I wrote my first program in college in '74 (good ol' FORTRAN IV). Stuff from the '60s is ancient, but I wouldn't call anything newer than that 'old'. I wrote some pretty decent stuff in the '80s. LOL

Dave Shaw
Mohawk Industries

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