Programming Choices

The past few months have pretty much been both a blur and a grind. Most of my work time has been spent on a classic big, dumb enterprise Java application. They’re a drain to write, and I’ve found it also saps my creativity for trying new things. Java, powerful as it may be, really has become the new COBOL and I definitely don’t want to be one of the grey-beards left maintaining crap code in another decade.

The tough problem is there are too many choices today, and Java ends up being the safe bet by default. There are several other technologies out there that I find more interesting. The challenge is finding the time and project to use them on.

WordPress – Yes, don’t laugh, I said WordPress. We finished up a custom WordPress site for a local home builder and it was a blast. WordPress has grown in to quite the little powerhouse and you can almost think of it as a mini web framework. PHP is a bit kludgy, but no worse than many alternatives. I’d like to get a chance to do another WordPress and push it a bit father.

NodeJS – I really enjoy working with NodeJS. As I’ve mentioned in a prior post, it reminds me of Java in the JDK 1.1 days. NodeJS is fast to work with with, and allows you to build an application about anyway out want due to an emphasis on tightly-focused “micro modules”. Think JavaScript Legos. The downside of NodeJS is it tends to be a lone genius technology. I couldn’t see a large team working on a NodeJS application.

Scala – I’ve never had such a love/hate relationship with a language as a I do with Scala. It feels like a modern language but it is still, at its heart, Java. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. In some ways, it feels like it tries to be too different from Java, making for an abusive learning curve. And if I wanted to stay on the JVM, I could just keep doing Java and cut through the complex abstraction. Scala has moved to my “watch, but don’t play” list.

There are always other little things that pop up too competing for my attention. Now we’re firmly into spring so I can bust out of the winter doldrums and try to get creative with my coding again. I suspect though I’ll be slitting braincells between WordPress and NodeJS.

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