This year, for the A to Z Blogging Challenge I'm posting alphabetically on topics related to software development...
I've had a fascination with computers since they first started emerging from sprawling corporate basements and took their early halting steps into people's homes back in the 70's.
As a hobbyist, my fascination was with the idea of lining up a set of instructions and then seeing them run to produce a result, a bit like watching a train running on a track.
Yes, trains fascinated me too.
As a professional, I had to leave my hobbyist anarchy behind and develop serious disciplines in my craft. I also learned for myself something a friend at university told me, though it took many years for the message to become real to me: the technology isn't really important, it's people that matter.
This series of posts contain lessons I've learned, mostly the hard way, over the years. But I don't expect to impart wisdom or change the world in a handful of blog posts. If I'm honest, my motivation is less noble and more self-indulgent than that. This is a thinly-disguised month-long rant.
The trouble is that we don't seem to have progressed much as an industry. And it frustrates me.
Sure, we have smaller, faster, more powerful devices than we could have imagined twenty years ago. I am boggled by tablets and smart phones. These would have seemed like magic in the eighties.
I can still remember the thrill of pleasure when a Star Trek game I was writing first painted a crude star map on the screen in green characters. How far we've come since then. Games have progressed, and computer animation brings undreamed of cinematic possibilities.
But somehow, the corporate IT world is still mentally stuck in the seventies. Most web applications are honestly no better than tarted-up versions of the green screen systems they replaced.
Most businesses of any size couldn't survive now without some large business systems to manage their records, but the idea of people being in charge, and freed up to be more creative, is largely a sick joke. Take a poll of office workers, and I bet you'll find in many cases that the systems are in charge, and people are relegated to little more than priestly acolytes invoking ill-understood rituals to placate the beast squatting on their desks.
There is a criminal waste of human time and missed opportunity in practically every office across the world, as people grind their teeth in frustration at the digital crap they are given to work with.
Business IT has failed to keep up with the times, and that angers me.