I was able to get a few more things done on BottomFeeder - some bug fixes around the settiings change, and some work that tries to locate the last save file on non-Windows platforms. On Windows, we save the filename and directory (of the save file) in the registry. On Unix/Linux (and Mac), there is no such beast. There are environment variables for the these, as well as command linee arguments. In their absence, I look for a reference to the last save file in the default sav directory. Since I added binary save, this became less trivial - before, I always looked for rssViewerFeeds.rss. Now, binary saves go to .bss. So, I need to have a way to check for that possibility at startup. I'm not completely happy with what I've done, but it seems to work. I also eliminated a nasty Twoflower bug. If an html entry has embedded xml tags, Tf barfs. It seems that the MS Office tools do that, so we are only going to see more of it. The fix needs review; I basically just have the tag being willfully ignored. In any case, if you grabbed a build earlier today, the one that is being uploaded now (about 7:20 pm EST) is worth getting.
I'm sick, I'm coughing, and I'm bored. What better time to mess with layout ideas?
In the current BottomFeeder development cycle, I added binary save support to the tool. The XML file save/restore was getting way, way too slow for the list of feeds I track (1 minute on my PIII 500 Mhz box!). So I decided to add an option (likely the default in the next release) to save and restore via BOSS, while keeping the XML format as an option. Well, BOSS does not save graphics handles (i.e., screen objects). That should be ok; why would I want to save them? I don't, but the various UI level dependencies (both those set by me and those set by the framework) have hooks from the domain to the UI. Again, shouldn't have been a problem, except that the code for save/restore was a bit convoluted - over time, it had spread out across three classes. I was getting BOSS exceptions with this as a result - it was too hard to track what was going on (my first crack at removing dependencies ended up with code that iterated over all the feeds twice). So I finally sat down this morning and refactored the nightmare - yet another case where the RB made my life way, way simpler. I should have a new dev build up shortly. We have a lingering Twoflower issue with parsing that we want to resolve before we push 2.6 out, but it's getting closer.
I have a head cold - the sort where the cough gets worse when you lie down. To top that off, Christmas (and the deluge of relatives) is only three days away. Should make for a lovely holiday (hack, cough) week (sniffle).
Law.com reports that software company Citrix is suing the Florida Department of Revenue to avoid paying taxes. Citrix's theory? "That all companies acting as purveyors of information and facilitators of communications, including newspapers, TV stations, telephone companies and computer companies, are constitutionally exempt from paying taxes of any kind," because "taxes have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution."hmmm. double hmmm. triple hmmm, even...
John Brant posted this on cls today - IMHO, it demonstrates one of the truly cool things about the RB:
One thing that the RB has that I haven't seen in any Java refactoring tools is the generic parse tree rewriter (I've never programmed in Java, so I might be missing something obvious). Using the rewriter users can define their own transformations. There was an experience report at OOPSLA '02 where Will Loew-Blosser used the rewriter to change the data access layer: The report. Using the rewrite rules he was able to make the 16,000 changes 34x faster than he would have by hand.Now that's productivity
Welcome home! The new ANSI / BBS stylesheet is now live. MarkupLanguage.net, the latest of Mozquito's Webaccess developments, will be used for the revival of the StadtNet community system and is planned to initially run the forum, as many BBS systems had news forums at their core. It will be linked off Stadtnet as the 3.0 version of the "SN Foren", after having reached agreement with Joerg Stengel, founder of StadtNet, to restart the operation of this community system based on Mozquito software.Call Dr. Emmit Brown!
Although it's not exactly clear to me what Oracle expects. See the story. Excerpt:
According to this article: "The proposal outlines a standardized way to merge Java programming tools from several companies into an integrated development environment (IDE), which would then allow access to all the tools through a single interface. Oracle intends to present a draft of the specification by March next year through the JCP. Java backers such as BEA Systems, Borland and IBM will contribute to suggested add-ons and incorporate approved updates to the specification to ensure it will work with their products. Oracle's stated goal is to codify the mechanism for plugging together different Java programming applications. Once standardized, an application developer could use a single Java IDE and be sure that an application for testing Java code, for example, would work glitch-free with tools for program design and source-code control."This sounds an awful lot like a description of Eclipse to me.
Originally StORE was known as Bernstein but it was extensively revamped for VisualWorks 5i's namespaces and parcels. Members of the team wanted to call it StASH for Smalltalk Archival Source Holder but certain nameless senior members of engineering with a vague memory of the seventies poo-poohed the idea.Chuckle. Some of us even remember that the working name for class ApplicationModel was GluePuppy
I got this today from a customer. Now, I've dropped the company names and industry sector, but this is a perfect example of what I talked about here.
Our business and technology bigwigs went through a 3-month review of our business needs and the system itself to see whether a migration is necessary. Nearly everyone agreed that migration would waste a lot of money to achieve less than stand still. It is now accepted that both VW and GS/S are the cornerstones of the system's success, and that by mirating/rewriting we would lose the market share and ability to deliver. For our sector look no further than (our prime competitor) who had a competitive system to ours. About 3 years ago, a newly appointed CIO decided to do away with Smalltalk because he had never heard of it. It took them 2 years to unwind the system, whilst the unsuccessful rewrite in Java failed miserably. We now employ most of their Smalltalkers (who have a solid background in our business domain - a big asset) and their end user support personnel. The outcome? They have lost a BIG profit making business completely, which now in the times of reduced business could have put their entire organisation into profit.That's exactly the risk I referred to in migrations. Sure, Smalltalk is a niche product when compared to Java or .NET. However, deciding to do a migration based solely on the niche status of a technology (any technology) without regard to the risk is just strange. If nothing else, there is a huge opportunity cost involved in having a team do a standstill migration - what business value could they be adding instead?
I decided that the list of tech blogs I follow wasn't really expansive enough, so I added links to the various other industry and Smalltalk sites I follow. The sites listed don't encapsulate all the things I follow (for instance, I specifically omitted politics), but it's a pretty complete list of the places I get ideas and content from. Enjoy.
That interest in the Cincom Smalltalk NC is high? We are getting 800 - 1300 downloads a month - I've been personally tracking the numbers since September. Those are very good numbers, IMHO, and represent a good level of interest in Smalltalk.
No sooner do I re-enter the dynamic/static fray here when this shows up in comp.lang.smalltalk:
As we all have found out (latest when reading this thread ;-) is that there are at least two big philosophies in programming languages: static typing and dynamic typing. While many people make a white/black distinction between these two claiming one or the other side is inherently bad, I cannot agree. IMO programming languages are all in an early stage of development, and I feel disadvantages in all of them. ATTENTION static typing stuff ahead: Regarding generics, while uselesss for dynamic type languages, are important in statically typed languages, as they are the only way to solve certain problems. E.g. you have an AbstractBuffer superclass with ByteBuffer and IntBuffer subclasses. You will then can write aint getNext(); in IntBuffer and a byte getNext();each dealing with its particular buffer. With generics, there is only one method. I agree fully that Generics do not solve everything. Another big issue is that types cannot be refined in subclasses (this is even more painfull than the problems solved by generics). A good example is Object.clone(); Any subclass can override, but they all are forced to return Object instead of their type, leading to ugly code like e.g. ByteBuffer copy = (ByteBuffer) myByteBuffer.clone(); //yucc This one is particularly hurting when designing class hierachies. Also, it apparently drops back to runtime type checking, static types are merely a burden. (BTW: these two problems are on (1) and (3) in the java RequestForEnhancement list). Apparently all this is absent in dynamic type languages.
On my conference call. There were some positive things (and interesting things) that came out of it. The analysts we spoke to did say the following, quoting from some of their older papers (1997 and 1999):
Which is the summary of what we were told about Smalltalk. We were also told that they (the analysts on the call) had not looked at VisualWorks in over five years as well. Draw your own conclusions from that next time you see advice being proffered from that direction.
- Smalltalk is a niche
- niches are bad, because you get less vendors supporting you, higher risk of being orphaned, and harder to find and more expensive people
- Don't stay in a niche unless it offers you compelling technical advantages that outweigh these considerationssmalltalk has strong advantages, most notably in the area of complex and changing requirements And to quote one of the other people on the call from Cincom (i.e., one of the more level headed ones who did not lose his temper): I'll take that. I'd take it as an advertising slogan: If your requirements are simple and never change, then you don't need our products.
Dynamic typing is still able to raise controversy - check out the archives of the USENET comp.lang.smalltalk newsgroup and you'll see what I mean - threads can pop up and linger for weeks (even months!). So it's always useful when someone discusses the issue intelligently. Have a look here - tip of the hat to Why Smalltalk for the link.
There's not a lot to disagree with there, IMHO. Go read the whole thingAnatol Fomenko wrote: ...Why Smalltalk is dynamically typed, and why it does not affect negatively the stability of the large Smalltalk applications?Rephrasing slightly gives the two following questions:
The first question would be better answered by Alan Kay and the Smalltalk team more than anyone else relaying their reasons. Alan Kay has described some of his reasoning in the book "History of Programming Languages II", various OOPSLA & Smalltalk talks, and other sources.
- Why is Smalltalk dynamically typed?
- Why does dynamic typing (as done with Smalltalk) not negatively affect the stability of large applications?In my own words, the main reason is that Smalltalk has a simple and powerful concept of building software out of Objects that send Messages to other Objects. This is more powerful in both the small and the large than a language that adds the additional concept (and constraints) of "Types". Note that biology has Objects (e.g. Cells) but no Types, Humans are Objects but there is no compile-time type-checking between humans, and even electronics do not have compile-time Types: you can plug the GROUND pin into +5V if you want although some physical constructs will discourage (but not prevent) it. These highly scalable areas (life, civilization, electronics) have done fantastically without the support of Types, growing in orders of magnitude of functionality. Alan Kay (who has a biology background) leveraged insights on how cells and other highly-scalable areas could scale, and applied them to Smalltalk. The main concept was membranes/encapsulation and little else was needed.The second question may partially support the first. The short answer is dynamic typing can scale well because one tends to create much less code as the system grows bigger. As the system grows, objects will get reused in many different situations for which they work well, and the layers of "membranes" allow clients to not worry about internal details very much. It still requires a good architecture to build a big system, but the generalizable functionality of the objects is helping a lot with the design/implementation.
That I laid out here. I got a comment that said, more or less: "1000 man years? No one does projects like that anymore!" Maybe they don't. However, there are plenty of projects like that dating from the early and mid (even late) 90's - a number of our Cincom Smalltalk customers have such large projects. How do I reach a number like that? Well, I have personal experience with one huge effort at a large (Fortune 100) firm. They have had 150-300 people developing the applications in question since late 1993 or early 1994. That's well over a thousand man years in at this point. It's hardly the only example of such a system either - I have friends on many other similar systems, and not a few of them have tried migrations to Java (watch for it - some will now try to go to .NET). Most of the efforts I know of failed; the ones that succeeded merely re-delivered the existing functionality in the (now trendy) language. The question remains - Where's the business value?
Scripting languages have more options than bisexuals. It's a reasonable, interesting article with one heck of a hook line to drag you in.
Update - Permanent Link
Here's a scenario where a company takes the all to common expert advice on technology. The advice I'm talking about comes from an analyst report dated September 27th - Leading Programming Languages for IT Portfolio Planning - but the advice is certainly not to this report of the authors of this report:
We recommend that enterprises consider a migration to Microsoft or Java languages and technologies. A qualifying factor in their assessment would be the degree to which their vendors align their strategies with Microsoft or Java
I've read the entire report; the reasoning used to justify this boils down to "Everyone else is using Microsoft or Java - you should as well!". I seem to recall a thing or two my mother said about "things everyone else does" - I'm sure you do as well. In a serious vein, what they don't talk about are the truly critical things you should look at in any large scale effort like the ones they advise:
- What is the business value of the migration?
- What are the risks inherent in the migration?
Those are the interesting issues, and the report ignores them. Perhaps that's due to the numbers that they themselves have turned up. Let's look at the two main issues by going through an example. I'll posit an IT shop with a large application, into which 1000 man years of effort has been spent to date. Now, let's posit that the developers will be equally productive in (insert popular technology here) as they are in (insert non-favored technology here). This is granting a lot, but it's very illustrative of the problem.
|Time to rewrite application||1000 man years|
|Cost per man year (US)||$140,000 (fully loaded)|
|Cost per man year (outsourced overseas)||$50,000 (fully loaded)|
|US based cost||$140,000,000|
Now, that's a lot of money. And bear in mind, at the end of the exercise, the IT shop has the same application they started with, with the same features - i.e., they spent all that money to stand still. If the customer used consultants for this task, the costs could go even higher - the hourly charges (using a mainstream consulting firm) could easily top $100 per hour. But at the rate of $100 per hour (2000 hours per year), the cost using consultants could easily reach or exceed $200 million USD.
Can someone explain the business value of following this advice? I'm not seeing it. The costs are enormous even if we assume a 100% success rate in such migrations, and the customer will end up with the same functionality they started with.
But it gets better. If you look at the success and failure rates - from these media reports: 40% of all IT projects fail, but that 70% of Java projects fail. And according to that article, the expectation is that .NET projects will fail at the same rate. So let's go back to the example:
- The recommendation is that you migrate a large (successful) application
- The cost of migrating will be at least $50,000,000.
- In attempting this migration, you are only 30% likely to succeed
That's right - the expert advice is suggesting that you spend truly enormous amounts of cash in an effort that is only 30% likely to succeed. I'll ask the question again - where's the business value?
The interesting thing is that I'm not the only one who has expressed this opinion on rewrites. Joel on Software has done so here and here. There are at least two very large, very public examples of companies following the advice laid out in the report:
- Netscape, with the Javagator project
- Corel, with the WordPerfect to Java project
All the things I said above applied - and both projects crashed and burned. Netscape actually didn't learn, and rewrote from scratch in C and C++ - and their market share went from 50% to 3% during the four years that they released no new versions. Corel nearly died in their attempt, and was severly weakened.
I've seen this in my customer base as well - many attempts to migrate existing, working Smalltalk applications to Java. Some succeeded, most failed. Even the successful ones spent huge sums of cash, and ended up with exactly what they started with. The opportunity cost of that is huge - what new value could their IT shops have been providing had they not been on a project to duplicate existing functionality?
That's quite a ramble, but my question is the same - What is the business value derived from following the migration advice?
Here's an interesting piece over at Gordon Mohr's blog on what I can only call cybernetic research:
Two great tastes that go great together: rat brains and computer circuitry. Scientists at SUNY-Brooklyn have wired a computer into a live rat's brain, allowing the researchers to remotely "steer" the rat, while a researcher at Georgia Tech has grafted rat neurons into a robot, allowing the rat brain remnants to steer the robot.Quick, somebody go check out Cyberdyne systems! Just in time for next summer's T3
I read about this a few weeks ago, and got reminded by David Buck in email: There's a slimy little outfit called PanIP that is doing the following:
PanIP based in San Diego is suing 50 small businesses (so far) over patent infringements. They claim to have two patents - one on "using graphical and textual information on a video screen for purposes of making a sale" and one for "accepting information to conduct automatic financial transactions via a telephone line & video screen". Virtually every e-commerce site would be infringing on these patents. Rather than take on the big players, this company is suing small businesses knowing that they don't have the financial means to defend themselves in a patent lawsuit and would rather pay the $5000 licensing fee to get PanIP out of their hair. A coalition of companies is fighting back to take this to court and have the patents revoked. This is pure insanity. Related Links:And here's the url for the ethically challenged folks themselves: http://www.panip.com/ Even unto the age of the internet, PT Barnum's spirit lives.
I saw the film last night (the midnight showing) and again today with the wife at noon. It was well worth seeing twice. There were a lot of very funny lines for Gimli - and the action/combat sequences were very, very well done. One of the things I had wondered about was Gollum - how well would the CGI work (after the disaster that was Jar Jar Binks... ). Not to worry. Andy Sarkis (the voicing) was marvelous, and the movements and emotions were very well done - he seemed very lifelike. I also really, really liked what they did with Theoden - his transformation from the doddering old man under Grima andn Saruman's spell back to the commanding King. There were more liberties taken in this film than there were in the first - but again, I thought they mostly worked out. I was unsure about one of them (involving Faramir) after the first viewing, but I was ok with it after the second. highly, highly recommended
Why Smalltalk is helping out in my efforts vis-a-vis the analysts who cover application development issues. Let's hope that they look at their own stats a few more times - maybe enough to actually take them into account - and reconsider their advice that companies migrate off (insert anything but .NET and Java here) to Java or .NET.
Looks like Sun has pulled the plug on the Dot-Com Builder website. I remember seeing the ads in airports - the "We put the dot in dot-com" line. I especially remember the one showing a little girl's face, tongue in cheek (that bulge serving as the dot). They all disappeared around the time of the bubble burst; now the website is going. Tip to the Register
Sun Microsystems is 'retiring' its Dot-Com Builder website. Killing it, more like: the site shuts on December 23 and content is to be divvied up between other Sun developer web sites. Links to the old site are maintained through the Wayback Machine.
I saw this item on the Fuzzy Blog this morning, and had to laugh - that's pretty much my office garb when I'm not traveling, and yes, people stare - in my case, when I walk my daughter to the bus stop.
This will probably put a chuckle on people's faces this moring. When you work from home there is always the question of "What do I wear today?". I mean I don't think anyone ever wears exactly what they did in the office. Not that I'm saying that you want to slack off and be a slob or anything (and, no, I'm not a slob who is trying to cover up for himself) but it's always a bit different. Personally I tend to my "summer hacker" outfit year round i.e. Bermuda Shorts and a shirt.It's kind of a relief knowing that I'm not the only one doing this.
to the midnight showing of Two Towers. I have a small quibble with one of the liberties they took, but that's ok - the movie was fast paced, and grabbed hard. Well worth seeing - and I will be again tomorrow, with my wife and her office...
And with better information than I had! Over at Gordon Weakliem's log web log are some thoughts from another veteran of STIN. I hope he didn't have to pull the 12 hour days us Booz-Allen guys (my employer at the time) did. I was wrong about Hugh (famous for HuBol) as well - I guess we all just thought he was near retirement.
Oh, yeah, TravelBase! I used to work in the basement of the STIN building with Hugh Wilkie, the creator of "HUBOL". I've heard it described as a blend of FORTRAN and COBOL with bit shift and rotate operators thrown in. Never saw any actual HUBOL code, but it was still kicking around at the time.TravelBase was really my first death march experience. Always nice to know someone else remembers it...
I have a conference call with Feiman and Driver (Gartner) on Thursday this week. If anyone has suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them
David Brin writes a very interesting critique of the entire Tolkien mythos. I was tempted to lift a quote from his third page, but no - read the whole thing yourself - it's well worth a few minutes reflection.
Web Services according to Jon Oltsik. And this time, Smalltalk is prepared - VW 7 shipped with full Web Services support. From the article:
This was a tough call for me. I truly believe Web services will improve application development and integration and has the potential to change the way companies use software. Even so, the technology still remains very immature. XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a good foundation for standards, but data definitions and business semantics remain a battleground. Web services also suffer from a lack of application-level security
Last July, I had kind of an epic brain cramp with one of the internal wikis - see the post I referenced for details. The cool thing is, the server has been running nicely since then - and I've had to add a new wiki to it - without any hiccups. That's 5+ months of uptime, a pretty good track record.
Why Smalltalk has the goods on the upcoming ESUG 2003 Conference. I would love to go this, but the last week of August is just a bad time for me - that's when my daughter starts school, and it's time to meet her new teacher. This looks to be packed with good stuff:
Continuing a strong tradition in organizing Smalltalk events for Smalltalk practitioners, this year promises to be very exiting. ESUG organizes a Smalltalk Joint Event comprised of Camp Smalltalk, Advanced Seminars and a Research track:The event will be in Bled, Slovenia between August 23-29. Follow the link to Why Smalltalk for details and contact information!
- An official (and free) Camp Smalltalk, starting the week-end before and continuing the rest of the week.
- The Advanced Seminars, where invited speakers and technical presenters show concrete applications and research using Smalltalk.
- ESUG Research Track: an academic research track with top-of-the-line program committee. A separate call for paper was issued for this event, which is attached to this mail at the bottom.
In the IT industry, the various analysts have a large amount of influence. They have analysts who follow all aspects of the IT industry - server platforms, development tools, operating systems, the whole gamut. This raises a question though - with how influential they are, how accurate are they? It should be pointed out that I am hardly an unbiased observer - as the Product Manager for Cincom Smalltalk, I am obviously going to have a distinct point of view on what people should use for developing software. Still, over the last few years I've watched the analysts go negative on Smalltalk, and I decided to start looking at what they say and how they justify it.
The best place to start is with an analyst report put out at the end of September: Leading Languages for IT Portfolio Planning. This report looked at what development languages are in use, and what development languages are likely to be in use. Additionally, it makes recommendations on what languages should be used - and also on which should not be used. The report was written by the analysts at the analyst firm in question who follow development tools. Here's the table of language penetration they came up with in their survey:
|Language||IT Shop Penetration|
These are the languages that they classify as mainstream. They consider Java, VB, and (to a lesser extent, C++) to be mainstream, with C# soon to enter that state. To quote them, they say the following about this table:
"Other languages and integrated development environments such as Pascal, Delphi, PowerBuilder, Smalltalk and Natural have already been pushed into a niche area, where we expect them to remain. We recommend that enterprises consider a migration to Microsoft or Java languages and technologies. Qualifying factor in their assessment would be the degree to which their vendors align their strategies with Microsoft or Java. Bottom Line: Enterprises must balance specific language requirements with the mainstream critical mass of skills. When possible, mainstream IT enterprises should first look to align application development initiatives with Microsoft.NET or Java-related technologies, tools and programming languages. They should consider niche tools only when the risk is far outweighed by the limited use of these specialized toolsets"What they recommend here is that IT shops should strive to be in the mainstream, where it will be easier to find skilled developers and tools. That sounds reasonable, until you notice these comments made to the press by an analyst who follows aplication development tools: made in an interview:
"A September survey by the Gartner Group, a technology consulting company, revealed that approximately 40% of information technology (IT) projects do not produce their intended results, an indication of how badly some companies need the consulting services of a tech-savvy CPA. Gartner's prediction that global IT spending will reach $3.3 trillion by 2002 highlighted the broader implications of this finding"
This is in line with other reporting; the statistics on project failure tend to range between 30% and 40% depending on whom you ask. Where it gets interesting is when you see the same analyst quoted above saying this to the press:
To date, around 70 percent of initial Java implementations have been unsuccessful, according to new research from Gartner Group.
"An inordinately large number of large-scale Java projects have been failures," said Mark Driver, Gartner research director for Internet and ebusiness technologies.
However, Microsoft shouldn't draw any comfort from those figures as it seeks to promote its .NET technology strategy either. In all likelihood, the failure rate for early implementations of .NET systems will be similar, Driver said.
So let's recap here - analysts recommend that you use a
mainstream language for your development - Java, VB, or a .NET language is what they mostly recommend. They particularly recommend that you
migrate projects from Pascal, Delphi, Smalltalk (etc.) to Java or .NET
post haste - and they do so even though their own research shows that
the failure rates for that decision are inordinately high.
It's at this point that I have to question the value of their reporting. They have the failure rates in front of them - they are quoted reporting them. And yet, in an official publication, they recommend that any shop using a non-mainstream tool should migrate in order to mitigate risk. I have to ask, what risk? The statistics show a 40% failure rate overall for IT projects, but a 70% failure rate for Java (and likely .NET as well) projects. That means, logically, that starting a project in anything but Java or C# has a lower than 40% chance of failure, while starting in Java or C# yields a 70% failure rate. This isn't my Smalltalk advocacy speaking; this is their very own data speaking. In full view of all this data, these statements have been made to my customers:
"Smalltalk has become a niche technology that will be used by less than five percent of enterprises for another few years, mostly in the maintenance mode."
"There are one or two reputable vendors that still support Smalltalk (e.g. IBM) but they do not and will not introduce significant enhancements, recognizing the niche status of Smalltalk."
"Smalltalk applications should be relegated in the maintenance mode: do enhancements, do not do major new development!"
"As a strategic, long-term direction enterprises should choose a mainstream technology: either (or both) Java or/and Microsoft technology."
Now, these comments were made at a point when Cincom was about to
release VisualWorks 7, IBM was about to release VAST 6, Gemstone was
about to release Gemstone/S 6, and Object-Arts was about to release
Dolphin 5 - all with major new features you can easily read about by
visiting their sites.
So there you have it - the analysts recommend that you switch from technologies that have (at least) a 60% rate of success in project usage, to technologies that have a 30% success rate in project usage. Draw your own conclusions
Java's marketing issues aren't an insignificant problem, said Borland's Shelton. In a recent survey Borland conducted of "C-level executives," i.e., top corporate officers, the predominant response from those surveyed was "Java is over." Respondents perceived that Java had been pitched to them as a panacea for everything, and once it failed to deliver on that promise, they became disenchanted with the platform and receptive to the promises of Microsoft's .Net. "How have we, as an industry, led our C-level people to believe Java was going to solve the common cold and cancer, to the point where they're now so fed up with it? That's the problem we need to solve," Shelton said.The amusing part to me is, here's a bunch of people who seem to recognize that Java was not a silver bullet. And yet, there they are ready to treat .NET as one. The industry continues to not get it.
Go read this now. I was rolling on the floor - I have the same problem ordering extra sauce!
There's some question as to whether IE usage is as high as reported - well over 90% according to this story. The question is, how many of the reported IE users are in Opera, Mozilla (et. al.) and simply reporting as IE to get around sites that only want to support IE (an astonishng number of sites are like that)?.
OneStat.com said that since it last published data in September 2002, IE 6 has picked up an additional 5.3 percent, moving from 52.3 percent to 57.6 percent share. IE 5.x has 35.2 percent of the market according to OneStat.com's metrics, while IE 4.0 holds 0.9 percent. The firm also showed Netscape 7 picking up 0.1 percent from 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent, with the Netscape offering overall holding 3 percent of the market -- making it second place in the browser wars. Meanwhile, the firm said its data shows Mozilla holds global usage share of 1.1 percent and Opera 6.0 holds onto 0.8 percent. It's in these details that OneStat.com's data begins to vary slightly with W3Schools. As of October 2002, W3Schools said Internet Explorer 6 holds 45 percent of the market, IE 5.x holds 46 percent of the market, and IE 4.x has 2 percent of the market. The methodologies of both firms are similar. OneStat.com said a global usage share percentage for a particular browser is generated by measuring the percentage of Internet users -- and which browsers they use -- that arrive at sites using one of OneStat.com's services. W3Schools does the same with data generated by TheCounter.com, a service run by internetnews.com parent Jupitermedia. However, Unix Systems Administrator Ben Rosenberg said such statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. Browsers use an identification string to identify themselves to Web sites, which is how counters and metrics firms can generate data about them. But a browser like Opera defaults to IE as its user string identification if the site is not configured to identify Opera. And both Konqueror and Mozilla users can change their user-agent string to IE to make sites accessible that are only geared toward IE. In fact, there is an add-on for Mozilla and Netscape that allows users to change the user string identification on the fly.I doubt it makes a huge dent in the numbers - IE is certainly the market leader. But it does point out the limitations behind this type of research as the client side tools get more and more configurable.
The analysts recommend migration off of languages that don't appear in their top five (except for C# and VB.NET). Wait, call out the media - they just stated that PHP and Perl are doomed as well. And Python. And Ruby. Heck, C as well. Shhhhh. Better not tell any of the open source developers. What complete idiots.
I just got a copy of this Gartner report: Leading Languages for IT Portfolio Planning
Here's the money quote at the end:
Other languages and integrated development environments such as Pascal, Delphi, PowerBuilder, Smalltalk and Natural have already been pushed into a niche area, where we expect them to remain. We recommend that enterprises consider a migration to Microsoft or Java languages and technologies. Qualifying factor in their assessment would be the degree to which their vendors align their strategies with Microsoft or Java. Bottom Line: Enterprises must balance specific language requirements with the mainstream critical mass of skills. When possible, mainstream IT enterprises should first look to align application development initiatives with either Microsoft.NET or Java-related technologies, tools and programming languages. They should consider niche tools only when the risk is far outweighed by the limited use of these specialized toolsets.So, in their discussions with clients, they recommend that you get off Smalltalk (and a raft of other technologies by implication). They do so even in the face of their own research. So they know that the recommendations that they give will lead to - in their words an inordinate chance of failure. That's expert analysis? That's worth paying for? Exactly what value is being provided, given that following this advice will lead to a large increase in a shop's risk? I, for one, am tired of this 'expert' advice.
The new Netscape - and apparently the current Mozilla as well - banish popups. Read the Register story.
I posted yesterday on the wonderful logic behind the language/development analysis. Well comes today some more information: These are the language usage statistics that Gartner's analysts believe to be true:
"Smalltalk has become a niche technology that will be used by less than five percent of enterprises for another few years, mostly in the maintenance mode." "There are one or two reputable vendors that still support Smalltalk (e.g. IBM) but they do not and will not introduce significant enhancements, recognizing the niche status of Smalltalk." "Smalltalk applications should be relegated in the maintenance mode: do enhancements, do not do major new development!" "As a strategic, long-term direction enterprises should choose a mainstream technology: either (or both) Java or/and Microsoft technology."