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Plain English

I'm a regular visitor to this site and forum as I find the ratio of plain english to buzz-speak refreshingly high. Joel himself is a good model for this - his articles are light (while getting across the important points), friendly in tone, and most importantly they're easy to understand and learn from.

Prehaps it's because I'm not from a strong academic background (I've returned to college this year though) - I'd consider myself a intermediate programmer at best. The gaps in academic knowledge are there as a result of self education I guess.

A lot of the time I find all this talk of XML, web services, dotNET strategies, enterprise architectures etc extremely vague and difficult to pin down.

This can have the effect of:
A) depressing you at times, or leaving you feeling downright thick :)

OR

B) giving you the attitude can it's mostly cr*p anyway and some people like to blow their own trumpets (see XMLRPC)

Does anyone else feel under pressure to keep up to speed with all these different technologies and concepts, or have trouble cutting though the vague buzz-speak to get at the real meat and what it means to you? Or do you feel under pressure to assimilate all this knowledge to secure your future?

Derek
Friday, March 08, 2002

At least at my company a lot of professionells (including COM-developers who are used to this stuff) find things like .NET quite vague. There is something, but it's quite hard to grasp and vaguely frightening when I try to close my eyes and find some sleep...

Sebastian Wagner
Friday, March 08, 2002

I think many of these topics are quite interesting.  And the reality is that its never been any different in this field.  Look at the evolution of COM for example.  There are many small MS initiatives that all converged into the overall COM architecture.  There is a heck of alot to know there.

I think a lot of the tools and technologies out now are at accessible at all different levels.  For example, with .Net its very easy to develop a simple Windows Form application to access a piece of data from a database, perform file system operations, etc.  However understanding Reflection, generating dynamic assemblies, and understanding CLR internals are all under the .Net umbrella as well.  Those concepts are probably not simple to most people.

My advice is to learn as much as you're interested in knowing.  I know a number of great programmers who do not concern themselves with internals of things such as OLEDB, COM, the .Net framework/CLR.  The simply write clean, efficient code that meets the requirements specified, doesn't break, and they deliver on time based on the schedules they set.  That kind of developer is going to be valuable in almost any orgranization. 

There is plenty of room for all development/programmer/engineer types, from Don Box (COM, SOAP, .Net internals god) to Joe Smith (VB/Access developer).

randy
Friday, March 08, 2002

It's funny how many Three Letter Acronyms (TLA's) we're throwing around glibly in this thread.

On a semi-related topic, has anyone seen that new Microsoft feature where you double click on a word and it pops up the dictionary definition? It's somewhere on their website, someone at work showed it to me. It's very impressive.

I don't think you should worry about keeping up with all the buzzwords. My personal belief is that if it's important to you, it'll eventually 'click' and the new buzzwords will /start/ to make sense.

Like that thread on which programming language to learn - you begin to learn what's related to what, and what each thing is for. You just don't have the framework to organize this information when you receive it.

Try browsing around http://www.freshnews.org in your spare time. There are a lot of articles about what things are, or what people's opinions of things are, which may help you figure out what things are.

Mark W
Friday, March 08, 2002

> On a semi-related topic, has anyone seen that new
> Microsoft feature where you double click on a word and it
> pops up the dictionary definition? It's somewhere on
> their website, someone at work showed it to me. It's
> very impressive.

I believe you mean Smart Tags. It's quite impressive, but it's a Very Very Bad Thing (tm). A simple explanation can be found here:

http://www.glassdog.com/smarttags/

Regards,

Leonardo Herrera
Saturday, March 09, 2002

OH YEAH. I remember this. You're right, smart tags are evil. I thought it was some special thing for one page, but that article jogged my memory. Luckily us CityDesk users can template that line into every page we design, as well as a fun Microsoft is Evil banner.

Mark W
Saturday, March 09, 2002

"On a semi-related topic, has anyone seen that new Microsoft feature where you double click on a word and it pops up the dictionary definition? It's somewhere on their website, someone at work showed it to me. It's very impressive."

To continue the thread drift, I've been doing the same sort of thing with bookmarklets - fragments of Javascript that you bookmark like normal pages. I've got one that allows me to highlight a word on a page, click on a bookmark and it'll look the word up on www.dictionary.com. I stole the basic code from the Wikipedia bookmarklets at http://math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel/bookmarklet.html and just substituted a new URL.

Bookmarklets are really quite cool.

Charles Miller
Sunday, March 10, 2002

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