The Relevance of Programming Languages

The subtitle of this post is “Wow – that boy can write.”  If you found my post titled CTO vs. VP Engineering to be relevant to your universe, grab a cup of coffee and wander over to Niel Robertson’s post titled Do Programming Languages Matter Anymore

I’ve worked on various companies with Niel over the past decade, including NetGenesis, Service Metrics, and most recently Newmerix.  In addition to being a phenomenal CTO (confirmed by Tom Higley – Niel’s partner at Service Metrics), Niel can write an essay like very few others.  This one covers his view of programming languages, how they fit in SAP’s world, and why SAP (and others) should “integrate a CLR runtime engine native in the application server (or at least have a three legged stool of ABAP, Java, and CLR-based runtime).”

If you aren’t a software developer (or an exec at a software company), you probably won’t care – other than to get a sense as to how a CTO should integrate programming, english, reasoning, and writing skills (plus you’ll get to learn why CLR matters.  For the rest of you – especially those of you that think “Microsoft is dead”, this is an important essay that helps uncover one more reason why large parts of Microsoft’s long term technology strategy are brilliant (and possibly unassailable in the medium-term.)

  • Jacob

    One important thing that Mr. Robertson seem to minimize, is that the integration between legacy code-bases and new modules is non-trivial. The code needs to be designed for complex interactions with outside modules (OO languages help – if used right) or needs to be modified to do so. But it is also likely that some of the functions preformed by legacy code will need to be modified. CLR and similar approaches make this somewhat easier and give you more options to consider, yet they don’t eliminate the need for engineers that understand both the system and know-how to use the legacy language. So while you get some benefits (sometimes great benefits) it is no panacea.

  • I wonder how many companies without a CTO yet rely on the “features” outlined in that post. Makes you wonder about who is innovating (startups) and relevant the CLR and microsoft is to them (not at all)