programming in the
twenty-first century

It's not about technology for its own sake. It's about being able to implement your ideas.

The Pace of Technology is Slower than You Think

"That post is OLD! It's from 2006!" The implication is that articles on technology have a shelf-life, that writings on programming and design and human factors quickly lose relevance. Here's a reminder that the pace of technological advancement isn't as out of control as it may seem.

The first book on Objective-C, the language of modern iOS development, was published in 1986.

Perl came on the scene in 1987, Python in 1991, Ruby in 1995.

You can still buy brand new 6502 and Z80 microprocessors (a Z80 is $2.49 from Jameco Electronics). A Z80 programming guide written in 1979 is still relevant.

Knowledge of the C standard library would have served you equally well developing for MS-DOS, early SUN workstations, the Atari ST, Microsoft Windows, and iOS.

The Quicksort algorithm, taught in all computer science curricula, was developed by Tony Hoare in 1960.

Bill Joy wrote vi in 1976. The span of time between it and the initial release of Bram Moolenaar's vim in 1991 (15 years) is shorter than the time between the release of vim and this blog entry (21 years).

The instruction set of the 80386 CPU, announced in 1985 and available the following year, is still a common target for 32-bit software development.

The tar command appeared in Seventh Edition UNIX in 1979, the same year the vector-based Asteroids arcade game was released. Pick up any 2012 MacBook Air or Pro and tar is there.

permalink June 2, 2012


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I'm James Hague, a recovering programmer who has been designing video games since the 1980s. Programming Without Being Obsessed With Programming and Organizational Skills Beat Algorithmic Wizardry are good starting points. For the older stuff, try the 2012 Retrospective.

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