Subject: Re: [xsl] XSL Project Shut Down|
From: "Kurt Cagle" <kurt.cagle@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 19:30:37 -0700
There have always been two schools of thought in programming. The first, and by far the largest, is that school that believes that programming is fundamentally easy, that you can build complex applications by dragging a few components onto a form, selecting a database or two, write a minimal amount of glue code, then press the magic compile button. The kind of applications that this kind of thinking produces tends to be strongly shaped by the components that are available, usually has all of the manageability of rush hour in Los Angeles, and because most of the documentation is written by people who have almost no clue what's going on in the background, tends to be notoriously difficult to maintain.
Business managers like this kind of programming best because 1) it costs them less money in the short term (though far more in the long term), 2) it proves that programming isn't really all that hard, thus justifying paying such people less money, and 3) because it comes out of a box there's always someone to call when something seriously goes wrong, and 4) there's usually a legion of consultants who know how bad the programming is when done this way and recognize a business opportunity.
The second school of programming basically recognizes that a well-made product will be in use far longer, will cost far less when amortized over that time, and will usually be at least partially self-documenting. These cost more initially however, because it requires a programmer with not only specialized skills but a good knowledge about the foundations of programming - of recursion and declarative programming and functional programming. XML developers work with programming almost at the metalinguistic level, and as such have learned to think more in terms of abstractions and larger design principles - they are better code architects, and they are more used to working in the emerging distributed environment of the Internet.
My recommendation to you is simple, if not blunt. Start sending your resume around. Solid XSLT developers are hard to find, and they are increasingly well compensated as people begin to realize the kind of power that they have compared to more traditional programmers. The company you are with right now is, in all likelihood, too focused on the next quarter rather than strategizing out even a couple of years, and that kind of attitude shows up most prevalently in the IT shop. They will try to shoehorn you into a drag and drop role that you will find stultifying, and after a fairly short period of time making the trudge into work won't be worth it. Get out now while the opportunity presents itself, and get yourself into a place that's thinking beyond making the stock price jiggle next month.
-- Kurt Cagle -- Webmaster, XForms.org