Programmer Criticism

Posted Sunday, January 08, 2012

I stumbled across a very interesting post today. The topic of conversation used to make the point is Go and Dart, but you may substitute them with almost any new technology or language and the article reads the same (which is much of the point).

It was unnecessary to try Go or Dart before commenting publicly on them; in fact, it was important not to (for one thing, trying them would require programming). The criticisms were loud and vociferous but irrelevant because they weren’t about the languages at all. They were just a standard reaction to something new, empty of meaning, the result of a modern programmer’s need to complain about everything different.

A while after Go launched, the criticisms changed tenor somewhat. Some people had actually tried it, but there were still many complainers, including the one quoted above. The problem now was that imagination had failed: Go is a language for writing Go programs, not Java programs or Haskell programs or any other language’s programs. You need to think a different way to write good Go programs. But that takes time and effort, more than most will invest.

I urge you to read the post for yourself, but if you take nothing else away, how about the author’s closing statement:

I resolve to recognize that a complaint reveals more about the complainer than the complained-about. Authority is won not by rants but by experience and insight, which require practice and imagination. And maybe some programming.