Great Time To Be a Developer

Was waxing nostalgic with my friend (another older guy like me) at work about the memory limitations we faced as young developers. On the very memory limited Vic 20, I can remember the need to go back and optimize my code so that it would fit within the available RAM (3.5 KB for Basic code). IDEs were non-existent or trivial in their feature set. Even in college, we spent some time with punch cards which had to be one of the most unforgiving ways to get code into a machine. Even later on, it was very expensive to develop software when your choices were Unix (not Linux) or DOS. Ashton-Tate’s DBase cost over $500 (which was a lot in the late 80s). That’s why we flocked to the cheap Turbo Pascal. Visual Studio (and Visual Basic) arrived and started to gobble up the low-end even though it still wasn’t cheap.

Compare that to today where you have multiple free OSs (Linux variants and Android), many free IDEs (Eclipse, Visual Studio and web based tools), several awesome languages (JavaScript, C#, C++, etc.) and great frameworks/platforms (JQuery, .NET, Angular.js, etc.). You even have lots of cheap hardware (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, x86). On top of this there are plenty of free tutorials out there as well. I’ve been using C# a lot lately and even though I will always love Object Pascal, C# is so much easier and expressive than Object Pascal will ever be. JavaScript is extremely versatile as well. Documentation is probably the one area where we’ve somewhat gone backwards and that’s because things change too quickly. There’s no time to update documentation.

If you’ve ever had the desire to learn to code, then take the opportunity to jump in and start creating something great. Grab an Arduino or Raspberry Pi and start reading some tutorials. Download the Visual Studio 2017 community edition and jump into .NET (which runs on Linux and Mac these days). Great hardware, great languages and great environments. What a great time to be a developer.