Friday, January 21, 2011

It’s just me and you!

When I first moved to Cupertino in the ‘80s, my brother Greg and I would often talk about the most recent episode of Miami Vice. It was the cars featured – but in this post, it’s all about the songs!

The publisher of the Tandemworld e/Newsletter will soon distribute the January 2011 issue in which I wrote a feature story about the expectations for NonStop, now that the 35th birthday party is behind us. Rather than trying to speculate about what may happen in the next 35 years, I limited my observations to what may transpire in the years left in this current decade.

I anchored that story around a series of quotes I lifted from an email a good friend provided me. But as I did so, I was aware of just how different the landscape has become even in the years since I was at Tandem Computers. Not the least being the solutions and infrastructure products being pursued by the vendor community.

Today, it’s hard to escape the diversification that’s taking place – while NonStop remains the premier platform supported by these vendors so many products and features are available for adjacent platforms that the impression quickly develops: staying solely focused on NonStop is a losing proposition.

Conversations with these vendors reveal just how important modern programming languages and frameworks have become, and how implementing a solution across multiple platforms has never been easier. This only works, of course, if developers embrace these modern languages, mind you!

Therein lays the rub, unfortunately. Will those associated with NonStop for so many years want to embrace new approaches and methodologies? Or, will the accumulated knowledge of NonStop we have today simply fade away as part of the aging process?

I think there are actions we can take and it’s not something we should be looking to others to address, as I wrote in the Tandemworld feature, it’s up to me and you.

Writing this, my thoughts returned to the old television series of the ‘80s – Miami Vice. One episode really stood out for me as it featured The Eagles songwriter Glenn Frey as a pilot, I recall, and his song, Smuggler’s Blues. Playing with the words only slightly, you may recall it:

You ask any marketin’ man,
He'll say there's nothin' we can do,
From the office of the President,
Right down to me and you, me and you.
It's a losing proposition
But one you can't refuse.
It's the politics of programin’,
It's the coder’s blues …

In an earlier posting on December 3, 2010 “Call this art?” I wrote of how so many programmers of my generation are struggling with the transition, while harboring warm feelings for languages of the past, like TAL or COBOL.

Following the posting, one reader commented: “while I agree the world was a kinder and simpler place in the COBOL era I don't see how we can put the genie back in the bottle...It would be like asking college new hires not to use Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia and Google - they wouldn't know what to do if you gave them a Webcrawler & Telnet prompt”.

True, the lid is off, the genie is well and truly out, and the modernization of NonStop continues. And no, staying focused on the NonStop platform isn’t a losing proposition even as diversification continues, nor is its relevance diminished even as it embraces modernization.

In the coming months and maintaining the modernization theme look for the upcoming Webinars, across Europe and the Americas, that will kick-off in early February with a special on “uLinga; modernizing your network” - more to follow, shortly.

As I continue to watch what will develop over the next couple of years, as we head towards the end of the decade, how vibrant and relevant the NonStop platform remains is now in our hands. It is, as the songwriter penned, truly going to come “right down to me and you, me and you”. And I seriously believe we can continue to make the transition!

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