Too many people programming
An interesting article at artima today for those of you not getting the newsletter
Despite Bjarne apparent conclusions, I also add too many people programming as being one of the problems with programming these days. Executive decisions are made mostly based on current resources. An host of mediocre underpaid code typists can certainly speed the development process in comparison to a small bunch of quality programmers. They will also make it cheaper.
The problem of programming is in part being widely accessible to everyone. And don't even think for a minute I'm being elitist. I'm a code typist, not a programmer. Not even in Visual Basic where I spent many years getting payed to do it. I just happen to know what makes a Programmer (capitalized) and what not. I'm aware of my limitations and live with them.
Will this problem get better? Nope. I don't believe it will... The KISS principle of programming languages design, the programming for the masses ideology, is pretty much what one is getting for the past years. However that is all BS. And no, that's not Bjarne initials. Not even for a moment someone with a forehead the size of two fingers will think that doesn't come with consequences. You cannot just add Simplicity to Power and expect to get Powerful and Simple. As appealing as it may seem to product managers of the major players in programming language design industry, it is really trying to make gold out of lead; it won't happen.
Sure, that is the objective. Clearly slowly and carefully evolving a programming language to become ever more powerful (read, efficient in an elegant manner) and simple should be on the agenda of any of the players (personally I think C++ does it the right way). But never by compromising one for the other. "There is no way you can do that!", I hear some of you probably saying. Well, true. Probably some things can't. Remember the lead analogy?
Another problem is the fact that none of the code typists is being told that different problems may mean different programming language solutions. This idea that one size fits all is particularly heavily distributed by those private companies pushing their own home brew programming languages... not always exclusively for commercial purposes. Someone who thinks they are a programmer becomes a zealot of one language by the marketing surrounding it and the other code typists who preceded him or her. It's like football and politics. You can only like one programming language and you must shun all others. But The Programmer knows the truth and knows more solutions than there are problems... he or she of course also expects an higher pay.
And down back we go to managerial decisions. A bunch of code typists that can do the work of a smaller number of highly expensive Programmers and do it twice as fast seem the right solution. Especially for those companies expecting to also sign a maintenance contract, or those expecting to capitalize from version 2 and 3 and 4 and 5,...
To the rescue, reinforcing the decision, the "simple" and "powerful" programming languages and the host of cheap code typists that operate in them like me.