Productivity versus Excitement

  

Many of the commentators in my two recent posts pointed out that the IDE additions and fixes in the forthcoming Delphi 2010 will increase productivity. I have no doubt about that. There’s one in particular I can see saving me quite a bit of time, and that’s the uses units. I use that little tool all the time, and could never understand why it automatically always put the unit in the implementation’s uses clause by default. Why can’t I choose? Well apparently now I can. One particular comment went on to say that compiler changes, the thing I said might just excite me, could in fact decrease productivity. It takes time to learn new stuff, and if you are spending more time learning, than actually doing things, then you’d not getting things done. That got me thinking about the Microsoft world, and how it seems that you hardly have started looking at one new technology, before it’s superseded by another. You’ve just about got your head around Winforms, and they spring WPF on you, then you jump on to that bandwagon, and suddenly it’s Silverlight out of the browser that’s the new in thing. Oh wait a minute, WPF and Silverlight doesn’t seem to be doing so good, perhaps we should stick with Winforms. Same on the web development side of things. You start with ASP.NET, get comfortable with ViewState and postbacks, and bam, they bring out ASP.NET MVC and tell you to forget all that (Actually they say they’re keeping both, so you need to decide which is for you). To make things worse, they offer you Silverlight as well. It’s the same wherever you look. Linq to SQL? Well apparently Microsoft now prefer Entity Framework. Well they did. I’m not quite sure anymore. So yeah, all these new innovations to the language and new technologies do have an effect on your productivity, especially if you are trying them all out. The thing is, it’s human nature to want something new and shiny. Look at mobile phones. Most people use their mobile phones for making and receiving calls and that’s it. Oh, they might try a few of the new features when they first get the phone. Maybe take the occasional photo with their phone, but for the most part, they just make calls. So why do they change their phone every 6 months or so? The phone they had 5 years ago still works great for making those calls. The phone manufactures know it’s human nature to always want the new model. So they oblige and keep churning them out. Microsoft also know that they can’t just rest on what they’ve got. They’ve got to keep their audience excited. Keep throwing as much new exciting stuff as is possible to keep them coming back for more. So while I agree, I’m as productive as a Microsoft developer who is using C# and Visual Studio, I admit I do go green with envy when that get some new toy!

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