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Is the old stuff worth learning?


Is the old stuff worth learning?

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Lynn Pettis
Lynn Pettis
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Jeff Moden - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 2:45 PM
Eric M Russell - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 9:59 AM
First, understand how a specific technology (new or old) fits into the overall ecology. Often times the flashy new tools and frameworks are really just an abstraction layer for building, or running on top of, an established foundation of traditional technology like SQL, HTML, and JavaScript. The foundation tends to evolve and stick around, while 3rd party solutions tend to have a shorter lifespan, often times getting replaced overnight by newer and flashier solutions. It's only once per generation that there is a major upheaval at the foundational level (ex: DOS -> Windows, On-Prem -> Cloud). So, by learning the foundational stuff you actually are preparing for the future.

Will dialects of C, SQL, and HTML still be the primary languages for enterprise application development a decade from now, even after we've move on to the cloud and globally distrubuted databases? Sure, at least I'm betting on it.

Will Xamarin and Tableau still be counted among the top ten tools for mobile app and BI development a decade from now? Ummmm... good luck with that.


I'm thinking that's one of the major problems that a lot of people don't actually have and (very sadly) may never have the benefit of doing... learning the foundation/fundamentals, which now seems to be "old stuff" to many.


I can remember decades ago working as a Senior Computer Operator for Data General. Coworker and I were training a couple of Junior Computer Operators. We forced them to use the full commands when doing things on the systems even though we used the "finger savers" to do the same things. We wanted them to understand what was going on behind the scenes with them before we allowed them to use them. There was another Senior Computer Operator on another shift also training a Junior Computer Operator, and he just taught this person the "finger savers" without even bothering to teach what was going on behind the scenes. I had to work with this person for a while and I almost gave them a heart attack when I yelled at them to stop when the nearly relabeled a backup tape that would have caused us to restart the entire backup of the database. This person had actually taken the tape off the drive, looked at the write-enable ring in the back of the tape and remounted the tape for the verification. Had this person removed the write-enable ring I wouldn't have yelled and then asked this person why the command failed.

You need to understand the foundations if you really want to succeed.

Cool
Lynn Pettis

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Matt Miller (4)
Matt Miller (4)
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Eric M Russell - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 9:59 AM
First, understand how a specific technology (new or old) fits into the overall ecology. Often times the flashy new tools and frameworks are really just an abstraction layer for building, or running on top of, an established foundation of traditional technology like SQL, HTML, and JavaScript. The foundation tends to evolve and stick around, while 3rd party solutions tend to have a shorter lifespan, often times getting replaced overnight by newer and flashier solutions. It's only once per generation that there is a major upheaval at the foundational level (ex: DOS -> Windows, On-Prem -> Cloud). So, by learning the foundational stuff you actually are preparing for the future.

Will dialects of C, SQL, and HTML still be the primary languages for enterprise application development a decade from now, even after we've move on to the cloud and globally distrubuted databases? Sure, at least I'm betting on it.

Will Xamarin and Tableau still be counted among the top ten tools for mobile app and BI development a decade from now? Ummmm... good luck with that.

It's funny, because even those "major upheaval" examples you have are purely repackaging the "old way". It's not like at any point in the Wintel evolution that we've actually removed the ugly underbelly we were dealing with directly back in the dark ages (say - 1990 or so), or that we've magically removed hardware and software concerns. We've just outsourced it or obfuscated that old green screen, but it's still there Tongue


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Ed Wagner
Ed Wagner
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Matt Miller (4) - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 3:18 PM
Eric M Russell - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 9:59 AM
First, understand how a specific technology (new or old) fits into the overall ecology. Often times the flashy new tools and frameworks are really just an abstraction layer for building, or running on top of, an established foundation of traditional technology like SQL, HTML, and JavaScript. The foundation tends to evolve and stick around, while 3rd party solutions tend to have a shorter lifespan, often times getting replaced overnight by newer and flashier solutions. It's only once per generation that there is a major upheaval at the foundational level (ex: DOS -> Windows, On-Prem -> Cloud). So, by learning the foundational stuff you actually are preparing for the future.

Will dialects of C, SQL, and HTML still be the primary languages for enterprise application development a decade from now, even after we've move on to the cloud and globally distrubuted databases? Sure, at least I'm betting on it.

Will Xamarin and Tableau still be counted among the top ten tools for mobile app and BI development a decade from now? Ummmm... good luck with that.

It's funny, because even those "major upheaval" examples you have are purely repackaging the "old way". It's not like at any point in the Wintel evolution that we've actually removed the ugly underbelly we were dealing with directly back in the dark ages (say - 1990 or so), or that we've magically removed hardware and software concerns. We've just outsourced it or obfuscated that old green screen, but it's still there Tongue

Now that's an interesting perspective. It brings to mind the "new" concept of the cloud. I learned COBOL on an IBM and then later classes on the PR1ME, both mainframes. Then came the PC revolution, putting all that computing power on the desktop. Just think, people could do work without a central server (well, except the database) being up and connected all the time. On some systems, you could even work locally before dialing the phone and syncing your data. Things then moved back in the other direction with the advent of web servers. Now, things are moving farther in that direction, becoming even more centralized. Maybe not as new as the term "cloud" term suggests after all.



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Eric M Russell
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We have come full circle, sharing time on massive regionally centralized computing infrastructures and working with databases that are way to large and impractical to install on our desktop PC or local network.


"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
Jeff Moden
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Eric M Russell - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 12:01 PM
We have come full circle, sharing time and the same decades old problems on massive regionally centralized computing infrastructures and working with databases that are way to large and impractical to install on our desktop PC or local network.

So true. Thought I'd add the rest of it.


--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 318 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. Wink

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