Evil Technology Rant
by Max Habibi

Bear with me here, I have a point...

Once upon a time, the fine gnomes that live under the silicon hills and valleys found a good, articulate, useful language. They called this language Java, and they saw that it was good.

But being tinkerers, they could not stop pushing & probing. In Silicon Gnome culture, the measure of Gnomedom is not the usefulness of the tools built, but the cleverness which went into it's consideration. Thus, never mind that the language is able to do X,Y, and Z. It is much more impressive to make it do Z, Y, and X, because that's new. It's irrelevant that 90% of the actual work that needs to be done is X,Y, and Z.

So the Gnomes one day decided that 'externalization' was a worthy goal: and so they set upon to externalize everything. Thus, they invented metalanguages that were interpreted by the common language to do things that the common language could have done well enough: but they did it in a way that was new! and complex! Never mind that it added convolution, increased overhead, offered advantages immaterial to the actual project at hand, and required specialized knowledge that had nothing to do with the actual business needs: it was new, and they read in a book that it was good.

All things must be externalized in Silicon Gnome culture, because externalization is the word of the day from the current Gnome gods. Want to handle an HttpRequest?

Don't just code up a JSP and have it defer the work to a servlet and/or BO: rather, it's more new to have an XML based framework {that you can't debug through}, that goes from the Dispatcher to the HandlerMapping, which returns a Controller, which returns a ModelAndView, which is fed to a View resolver, which finally returns the view, which must be named exactly such-and-such.

What's that? you're complaining that you have to hard code a bunch of names into XML files in order to support all this artificial plumbing? big deal! It's new!

Irritated that you have to make half dozen implicit calls in order to render a simple JSP? Whatsamatta, you're intimidated by a little complexity? aren't you a real engineer?

Worried about building tech teams devoted to yet another fad? What, are you just not with it?

And somewhere, a simple craftsman knew in his heart of hearts that simplicity was to be preferred over complexity; that good code looks like easy code; that things should be judged by the weight they bear-and not the bells & whistles they sprout. He wondered if there was something wrong with him because he could not force himself to like the loud sounds and flashing lights and stuff that everyone seemed to like.

So he shook his head and acquiesced to a design that he knew was wrong: because it's not about the right technical choices: it's about the appearance of the right technical choices. It's not important that you do the correct thing: it's important that you look important. It's important that you sound important. But actually working well? That's quaint.

The lesson seems to be this: If your code does not does not make high tech laser noises: but simply hums quietly along and works: well, you must doing it wrong.