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Re: XSL Project Shut Down

Subject: Re: XSL Project Shut Down
From: "Kurt Cagle" <kurt.cagle@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 19:30:37 -0700
Re:  XSL Project Shut Down
Karl,

My sympathies, and a note of frustration about the creeping influence of .NET.

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

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