Sunday, April 27, 2003

More Thoughts on Techies and Modelers

You may recall that Ted recently talked about the distinction between techies and modelers. I then questioned his "technieness" - by his reaction you'd have thought I questioned his parentage and sexuality both. :)

Regardless, Ted now has this to say on the same subject:

The more I come to know people at Microsoft, the more I'm realizing that most of the technical folk at Microsoft are techies--people who keep a careful eye on the underlying details and implementation. This attitude of "performance first" or "scalability first" definitely plays out well in certain scenarios, but can lead to some interesting and perhaps undesireable consequences.

While I'm all for maintainability, in this debate I often come back to a statement that Tim Ewald once made: "Your users will never come to you and maintain that your system isn't object-oriented enough." They will, of course, tell you when it's slow.

I'm not saying that Ted is claiming that OO == maintainable. But I think there's a general perception out there that this is the case. Our notions of "well designed" or "elegant" code have come to encompass the bill of goods that the OO purists sold us in the 1990s. But that's an aesthetic metric, and therefore a subjective one. I ask the question: is there something about OO that is inherently more maintaintable than a well-designed procedural system? I'm not sure there is. And when you combine the performance issues with objects in distributed systems with the fact that everyone gets procedural programming but OO takes like three years to penetrate your brain properly, the picture starts to get even more muddy.

I'm not saying that objects are bad. I'm just saying, they don't equal goodness. And linear programming doesn't equal badness. I'm sure Ted would agree.

No comments:

Post a Comment