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Dane Morgridge Programmer, Geek, ASPInsider
A blog about code and data access

Anyone who has spent any time at all searching the web for anything related to any programming language has probably come across the famed 'language war'.  These wars consist of everybody trying to prove their point on why their favorite technology is better than everything else.  They ususally start with a simple harmless comment like, "I was just checking out Linq and it is pretty cool", but posted on a java heavy forum.  Then the war begins by someone saying that Linq is useless and listing 50 points on why java doesn't need Linq.  The war is then perpetuated by trolls and when the thread is finally abandoned, you have countless bytes accounting for untold minutes of time wasted in both the posting and the reading of the chronicle of the war. 

I could see usefulness in these wars if people actually learned about the technology being promoted and/or flamed, but that is often not the case.  They are almost always based on personal preference and rarely include any real data on why one technology might be better in a certain instance.  Ususally one or two people will stand up and take a stand, but quickly give up because they don't want to deal with the trolls.  What most of the people that participate in these wars fail to realize is that, technology, just like many things we use every day are simply tools.  Tools that, when used properly, do a good job and producing the intended outcome.  These tools can also be used by someone not knowing what they are doing and produce a huge mess.  

I really wish the people that start and perpetuate language wars would grasp the simple princple of "the right tool for the job".  You can sometimes use a screwdriver to drive in a nail, but you really should using a hammer.  Sometimes, all you have is a screwdriver and have to make do, but your standard practice should be to use a hammer to drive nails.  I think that most developers have a specialty.  It's the language/technology that they use for most things and generally their preference works well for "most things".  I personally use ASP.Net and C# to do most of my web development, but I also know that you can do effective web development in PHP, Java, Python, etc...  Sometimes is just makes more sense to do a site in PHP.  And contrary to some people's belief, you can write decent code in PHP.

Here is a good link about exacly what I am talking about.  It talks about why the MLB site went with Flash instead of Silverlight this year.

If all you know is one language, I would recommend learning others to make yourself more diverse.  If nothing else, it helps you think through problems in different lights and can improve your skills in figuring out the best method to solve those problems.  Especially in this economy, knowing more than one language/technology can make you much more marketable.

In short, learn as much as you can about as many things as you can while still staying productive and please, please, please don't feed the trolls.

Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 12:04 PM | Back to top

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