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Tribe: Java

My thirst for knowledge often takes me to strange places on the internet.  Fortunately, I stay on established and well-known (to me, at least) blogs and sites.  (There was once an unfortunate incident with duct tape and Cat-5 network cabling–they really shouldn’t be allowed by law to sell those on the same website…)  The other day, my musings dumped me, quite end-of-the-waterslide-like, at a magnificent posting about Language Advocacy on the Perl site.

So after considerable thought I’ve decided that I’m Tribe: Java.

No, I’m not talking about whom I’m rooting for in this season’s Survivor: Redmond. I’m not even talking about my proper place in line at Starbucks. What I *am* talking about is my caste in the Matrix. See, I’m a professional programmer. I have been for over ten years now (I don’t want to give the exact number since my wife and children are already teasing me about my graying beard – really, really hurtful things like “Graybeard” and “Fluffy”… well, that has nothing to do with the beard, but that’s another story. When they start making fun of my receding hairline, I’m going to be discussing it all through tears with the company psychologist.  But I digress.)

As I was saying, I’m a professional programmer. I’ve been active in the programming community at various times in my life. I’ve tackled “bleeding edge” languages like Cobol (just kidding! Hah! programmer humor); I meant to say Ruby on Rails (back when it was a baby). But when I put food on the table, our black Angus is stamped with a big red “made with Java” brand.

I’ve always felt that there are multiple ways to get things done. There is generally a *best* choice for almost anything, but in the end, getting things done is what’s important. As a programmer, what matters is that the customer gets what is best for them. If someone asked us to create a common public-facing business website, you can bet (with very few exceptions) we aren’t going to be creating that in J2EE. If they ask us for a huge intranet/extranet system, then yes we might do that.  But chances are, we’ll be creating the intranet in J2EE and the extranet in PHP, taking advantage of SOA integration.

The danger in having a favorite *anything* is that you start wanting to implement everything with that anything. If I love my power drill, I may carry that sucker around in my construction belt (mostly to catch my wife’s eye, but again I digress) to every honey-do list item I encounter. The power drill helps me fix a shelf, a bookcase, the imbalance on the washing machine…pretty soon I’m inverting it and whacking nails with the battery pack. Eventually I get so used to this that I’m just pretty much walking around hitting nails, screws, shelves, pans, and maybe the cat, with the power drill battery pack.

For those that aren’t house-repair friendly, allow me to merely suggest this is a Bad Thing (TM) – especially if your family loves the blasted cat more than they love you (I’m sorry to inform you that the cat is cuter though). You’re left with nails half-hammered-in, stripped screws, broken pots and pans, and a cat that’s really, REALLY angry with you (and they have claws).

This is probably true for many subjects, but I feel that it’s especially true in the technology realm. While many languages and technologies *can* accomplish similar things, there often is a “right” tool for the job. And sometimes you have to add a bunch of those tools to your utility belt (I SO want to be Batman one of these Halloween years) so you can combine them effectively to help clients get their money worth.

I could drive my own train to work every day; but it’s much cheaper to just ride Trax (they’ve already laid down the infrastructure and purchased the locomotives and passenger cars). Unfortunately, they don’t let me wear my conductor’s hat (or pull the brake cables) any longer. But that’s another story, for another post.

Regardless, I will have more to say on this subject on a pretty much continual basis.  But if you’d like a less ADHD analysis, please feel free to check out the original article in its entirety at: