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Let Joe Average Help You Code

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-monkeys-and-a-lot-of-typewriters dept.

319

ploose writes "Apache co-founder and CollabNet CTO Brian Behlendorf says that programming should be opened out to non-developers. Bring them into a development community with proper feedback forums and bad code will get flamed anyway, so it doesn't matter what they write. From the interview: 'Mashups are really Excel macros 2.0 - with the rise of Web services, the more vehicles that are out there that expose data through programmable APIs, with Office 12.0 and Firefox with AJAX, the more people you'll see create applications. The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.'"

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319 comments

Welcome to 1982 (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820025)

Anyone remember back when every PC owner was expected to know at least a little BASIC? Back then computers were used for custom programs just about as much as they were used for shrink-wrapped applications. And if you didn't have the skills to write your processing program in BASIC, you could always hire someone to do it quickly and cheaply. (Program requirements weren't exactly high back then, so finishing a program in a day or two was quite common.) The question is, what happened to those days?

I suppose part of it was that shrink wrapped software got better. Where as you originally might have had trouble finding the software you needed, today you can get software for just about anything! The other part of the problem was that programming became far more complex of a task. Instead of just taking data in and spitting out a report, it now has to provide a cool GOOEY interface (MMmmm... chocolate), and real-time interactivity. These types of features are not so easily grasped by the average person, and require training to master. Thus programming has been squarly placed in the hands of experts.

If Brian Behlendorf wants non-developers to write code, he's better have another BASIC up his sleeve. (AJAX BASIC? Hmmm... I might have code like that lying around...) Because I don't think I could possibly take another round of Fourth Generation Languages [wikipedia.org] .

P.S. Excel VBA was a lousy attempt at getting non-coders to program. Don't do that to us again. Please. Make it truly home and SOHO focused like BASIC was.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820201)

I couldn't said it better myself. We already went through this before in many incatations:
  1. AmigaVision: Programming with boxes.
  2. HyperCard: Programming with cards.
  3. Basic (gw basic, Atari 2600 basic, ad nauseum basic, VBA)
  4. Other scripting high level languages (Gambas comes to mind) for application
  5. LOGO - Move thy turtle
There are already other implementations of "easy programming" like Flowdesigner and the box programming for the Scribblerbot.

Bottom line. If you're a non programmer, there are ways to "create" code nowadays. But the truth of the matter is that, people without technical inclinations, they're happy of not writing code and complaint when the dumb computer does not do what they told it to do.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820653)

LOGO ain't just the turtle. It does have list processing. I remember doing functional programming in it (based on a BYTE magazine article somewhere published in 1987). Syntax I cannot remember. It had a weird procedural style defining procedures/methods/subroutines with the TO keyword if I remember it correctly. It did have EVAL which made it possible to put a definition in a list and to define it at runtime. Pretty neat for only turtle handling :)

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820239)

Exactly, as first I was thinking, well MS Access is a good example of a very user friendly IDE where just about anyone can create a reasonable front end for a simple database. But then I remembered that I've tried to show several non programmers how to make a simple form or even a query, and most just don't get it.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820251)

Man, I would kill to get a simlple BASIC interpreter that has I/O functions that could handle NTFS. I deal with lots of data sometimes, and I don't want to write a VBasic program with a GUI so that I can run the program, then click a button to execute the code. Command line works fine for me, but I want it to be simple and fast to code. No, I don't want to fuss with declarations most of the time, and no, I dont' have time to learn a whole new langauge and mess with a compiler. I just want to write (essentially) a script and have it run. Why does everything have to be so @$%%ing complicated.

Yes, I grew up on apple basic, and even used qbasic until the mid-90s to do simple data sorting and transformations. Slow? maybe, but an extra minute of runtime on a script I might run twice a week never seemed to add up to a good reason to kill several days learning to program in C, or pull my hair out trying to get quick output in FORTRAN. I don't think I'd ever worry about speed now - I learned to count on 700ops/sec (550/sec on the PC), and that was fast enough for my needs in 1982. I suspect that a 2.8GHz processor can go a smidge faster than my old 6502, and that should keep up with my current datasets. ;-)

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820341)

I don't think I'd ever worry about speed now - I learned to count on 700ops/sec (550/sec on the PC), and that was fast enough for my needs in 1982.

Remember when we used to insert pauses or slow down programs with a loop like this:
10 FOR I = 1 to 10000 STEP 1
20 NEXT I
For really fast computers:
10 FOR I = 1 to 10000 STEP 1
20 LET TEMP = SQR(5000)
30 NEXT I
These days we'd hang any programmer we found pulling that stunt. ;-)

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820386)

*choke* *ghack*

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820343)

what about vbscript? vbscript is pretty straightforward and can do those things..

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

Musc (10581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820356)

How about something like python or perl?
Load up the python interpreter, type in a couple lines of code, and away you go!

Re:Welcome to 1982 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820395)

That's why Python was invented! Easy to learn. Easy to code. No declarations. Subroutines are denoted by whitespace (which you insert anyway.) Easy to read six months later. The perfect average mensch programming language.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820433)

I think these are all fairly easy to learn and might fit your needs. My personal preferences are:
  1. Python
  2. Gawk
  3. Rexx
  4. Lua
Some people might suggest some other languages, but I think that these scripting languages are straight forward enough to learn and use by "Joe Average"

As always YMMV.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820487)

I dont' have time to learn a whole new langauge and mess with a compiler. I just want to write (essentially) a script and have it run. Why does everything have to be so @$%%ing complicated.

It's only complicated because you seem to insist on using a language which fell out of general favor about 20 years ago.

I think something like Python would meet your needs quite nicely. The drawback is, you'll have to learn its syntax. It's honestly not that big a drawback, if you already understand basic principles of programming.

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820556)

Perl or python will work just fine as a basic replacement for those types of projects. If you don't like Python or Perl you also have Ruby and PHP to choose from. Under Linux I believe there is even a handy dandy version of basic that works just fine.
Yes you would have to learn a new language but that isn't all that hard. Once you learn one language learning a new one is pretty simple. Depending on how long it was since you used basic last it might not be much harder to learn Python than to remember Basic.

If you must have good old basic this might work for you. https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?grou p_id=49546 [sourceforge.net]

I found more links to basic stuff here http://www.thefreecountry.com/compilers/basic.shtm l [thefreecountry.com]

Re:Welcome to 1982 (2, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820357)


I thought that was already the idea behind OSS, GNU, sourceforge, etc.

Its open source, anybody can help, its just that much of the code of interest already has a group of developers and the codebase is so large and many times the bugs are so numerous, that even a decent coder is uninterested in fixing them.

But, in theory Joe Average is welcome already...

Re:Welcome to 1982 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820538)

"Anyone remember back when every PC owner was expected to know at least a little BASIC?"

Not in my universe. How is it in yours?

Re:Welcome to 1982 (1)

ciole (211179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820558)

If Brian Behlendorf wants non-developers to write code, he's better have another BASIC up his sleeve.

Couldn't Lisp be the answer? For simple spreadsheet expressions the syntax would be at least as simple and easy-to-learn as Excel macros.

Open Source , flame based development? (2, Funny)

HeavyMS (820705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820045)

"bad code will get flamed anyway"

Everyone is welcome to join in hand help but if you do not live upp to our standards we will flame you forever! and call you a turd.

Yep. Think about how that would work. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820276)

#1. Either someone re-writes your code for you (unlikely)
or
#2. Every time you make a mistake ("mistake" being defined as doing it a different way than the person flaming you), you'd be informed of your ignorance via insults and told to RTFM.

WTF? That sounds more like a reality TV show than writing code. Only a masochist would spend time learning code that way (and being "taught" by sadists and people with ego issues).

I used to work with Brian Behlendorf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820059)

He is a really funny and brilliant guy, but he had a really nasty habit of picking his nose and eating the booger at meetings. This really grossed people out. But then he beagan eating his own feces at meetings and that was really vile. Still a really great guy to work with!

Isn't that the open source community? (2, Insightful)

exa (27197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820080)

Many of the eager and excited hacks are by beginners, I think (^_^)

I'm still a beginner in python and I always intend to be a beginner
in one subject or the other. Maybe someday I'll be a beginner in the
apache project.

But alas, if he wants to collect patches from my mom, he better get ready
for a logic bomb.

darwin prize for project managers (4, Insightful)

bratboy (649043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820086)

This is a fantastic way to achieve negative productivity. I know, let's put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand IDEs - that ought to get us some code! Most non-programmers are simply not trained to think in a rigorous way. Hell, most programmers aren't trained to think rigorously. That's why it's so hard to find good ones.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820133)

"It was the best of times, it was the ... blurst of times? Stupid monkey!"

Re:darwin prize for project managers (2, Insightful)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820246)

Doesn't anyone respect the field of software engineering? I would like to see a bunch of dummies come in off the street and put chemical processing equipment together.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820378)

Maybe the idea is that some parts of coding in a project don't need the super-brains of software engineers. Just like putting together chemical processing equipment.

I would imagine that most of the physical labor of building a chemical processing facility is probably done by people who are not chemical engineers. The guy who welds a pipe to a vat does not have to be a ChemE - he just has to know how to weld to the standard specified by the project definition. (in fact, I wonder how many ChemEs COULD do a proper weld job). The ChemE does the inspections afterwards to make sure the job was done correctly and to standard.

Likewise, if the standards for a software project are properly designed (the job of the software engineer), I would imagine that skilled Joes could contribute code to the project that could be successful. Again, the SoftE would check that code to make sure it was done correctly and to standard.

In fact, I think it would be highly inefficient to have an entire software project done by only software engineers. It would be an inefficient use of resources to do so. That would be like hiring mechanical engineers to build cars.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

The Thinnest Tie (957765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820325)

I'm not sure rigorous thinking is any more common among programmers than among other analytical professions (medicine, law, academia, auto mechanics, <STRIKE>businessmen</STRIKE>). I think the point is to tap these alternative sources for new ideas. It probably won't work, just because there will be too much badness to sort through in order to find the goodness. At any rate, it does less damage to humanity than "Let Joe Average Perform Your Next Surgery".

Heh. When Does "Open Source" Become 'Too' Open? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820511)

Whassa matter? All you "citizen journalists" who relish tearing down the walls between 'old' and 'new' media, 'fan' and non-copyright-infringement fiction, and who enjoy 'empowering' 'musicians' and 'artists' with [your] software get kinda touchy when the job security seachange is on the other foot, eh?

"Art" is easy, of course, if you have the right software. But programming is "rigorous" and non-programmers need not apply. But... but... wait! I thought "code is poetry?"

This is all quite amusing; thanks for the chuckle.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

biobogonics (513416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820572)

This is a fantastic way to achieve negative productivity. I know, let's put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand IDEs - that ought to get us some code!

Where do you think Usenet postings come from?

Some of it is really good and the rest of it is what Spafford called "a herd of elephants with diarrhea".

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820590)

I know, let's put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand IDEs - that ought to get us some code! Most non-programmers are simply not trained to think in a rigorous way. Hell, most programmers aren't trained to think rigorously.

That's also called "Open Source Software". Honestly, I have yet to see any OSS source code that wasn't a rats nest of crappy code with very little to no documentation. Maybe the Linux kernel source is better; I dunno, I've never looked at it. I specifically remember looking at the source code to ssh and was absolutely shocked at what a steaming turd it was, and that was presumably something you WANT well written!

Hell, I remember a Perl library (still might be there, for all I know) that used repeated subtraction to do some date calculations. I almost heaved my lunch when I saw it.

I suppose my point is that even the "thousand monkey" method can produce useful stuff with enough poking and prodding, even if you have to hold your nose to look under the hood.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820710)

http://www.netbsd.org/ [netbsd.org]

Linux kernel is one of the worst examples of open source code. NetBSD is one of the best. Enjoy.

DragonFly BSD is turning out some really great progress too, but there's still a lot of FreeBSDism left.

Re:darwin prize for project managers (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820769)

i myself am a replacement for a truly uncapable programmer (two of them at one point in time) who spent the better part of 3 years creating a program which only performed one of its intended functions, and did it poorly at that... pinging another machine I, however, have done in 5 months everything that program was intended to do, and then some. booya. In essence my true response is that a complex program requires complex(rigorous) thinking. Less complex programs require less complex thinking.

Because remember... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820099)

In the Web 2.0 world, it's appropriate of course for Johnny not only to program, but to do it collaboratively, too.

...none of us is as dumb as all of us!

Joe or Josie Average can barely walk and talk on a mobile phone at the same time. If you want to make toys for them to play with and create "neato thingys" great, but keep them out of programming before it dilutes the talent pool even more. I can just see these "average" programmers being duped into creating the next generation of malware.

Inspiration (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820107)

Many times peer review (or just review by someone else) can lend a lot of ideas and improve performance. Better performance --> Better Product -->(hopefully) Better Sales. Sounds like a good incentive for a company to put ideas out there. It is kind of the same thing as beta testing, but beta reviewing instead.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820645)

I totally agree. It's so easy to say, "why aren't more people helping out on open source?" Many people want to, but the programs don't lend themselves to easy modification. So what if I get the GIMP source code? Does that tell me how to find where to modify transformation X and then recompile the whole thing? Honestly -- how many people *who know C++* are capable of actually making sense of the source code for an F/OSS program written in that language? As a fraction, wise guy. If we just made the program code more accessible and easy to understand, torrents of new people would assist on any and every project.

Great! Programming no longer requires thinking! (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820108)

The article links to another article, Why Johnny can't program [bricklin.com] , which is really good. That article has a good concept: That what we call "programming" is actually a hierarchy with shades of gray. C++ is programming. But is writing an Excel macro programming? How about programming a VCR? What if I write requirements and then code-gen a class hierarchy or a database schema? Programming is more than just writing code.

But the ZDNet article has the highest hype per paragraph ratio of anything I've read for a while. Web 2.0? Is that the buzzword replace Internet2? "Programming collaboratively?" And of course, AJAX & web services will make everyone a programmer. Some editor just linked a bunch of articles on similar subjects, threw in enough buzzwords, and jumped to a conclusion. Yes, everyone is now a programmer. "Sure grandma, I can set the clock on your microwave for you. I'll be right over."

Re:Great! Programming no longer requires thinking! (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820216)

But the ZDNet article has the highest hype per paragraph ratio of anything I've read for a while. Web 2.0? Is that the buzzword replace Internet2?

The Internet2 [internet2.edu] is a real network. Perhaps you're thinking of DHTML?

Re:Great! Programming no longer requires thinking! (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820234)

programming a VCR is equivilent to passing one single set of parameters to a single well defined function with lots of help documents around the first time you do it.

videoPlus(char *code)

TimerEvent(start,Finish,Channel,optional RecordQuality)

I realise development is built up from lots of simple stages and perhaps someone can walk through acode generating wizard, but maintaining that code afterwards and expanding uponnn it and trying not to break the existing data created is where developers earn their keep.

I've seen people restart entire complex macro processes time after time because it doesn't do a specific step - if they knew how to code they could splice it up themselves from the pieces they have.

Actors act and directors direct for a reason.

Re:Great! Programming no longer requires thinking! (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820523)

But is writing an Excel macro programming?

It depends. Simply recording a set of steps and attaching that to a button hardly counts as programming.

But, I, for example, created an Excel "macro" that spawns a Powerpoint application/presentation, copies in a template slide, then changes some text on the slide. It then populates the slide with a bunch of squares made up of 2 triangles, where this is a main number in the square (representing "current value"), and each triangle of the square is colored red, yellow, or green based on comparisons of the current-value to the target-value, and last-year-value. Oh yeah, and it reads positions for each object off the template by looking for lines of a certain color. Since the lines may not be arrange in index-order, I then sort the locations, and once everything's in place, I delete the guide-lines.

I built it with several subroutines, functions, declared variables, and control statements like if..then, select case (switch), do..while, and for..next.

Given all that, I would say I was programming. I looked at the input data and the desired output, and came up with a method/algorithm to have the computer do that work. I then coded that method, tested, debugged, and deployed.

Not to bad for an MBA...

Re:Great! Programming no longer requires thinking! (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820747)

Its a goddam trade! Yeah I can do some of the things a plumber can do but not all of them, and I certainly wouldn't charge for my plumbing work.

Mashup (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820110)

Will someone please define what a "mashup" is now? It seems to be the word du jour in the Web 2.0 crowd.

Efficient? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820115)

Just out of curiosity...any developers want to comment on the efficiency of the proposed method? I mean...wouldn't that eat up a LOT of time to sort through the code and see what is useable and what isn't? And in that timeframe...wouldn't it have been quicker just to have the developer write the code himself?

Re:Efficient? (1)

mongus (131392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820544)

Exactly!

I've spent way too much time fixing stupid mistakes that other people made. Technical Lead means every time someone compiles you get to explain why they need the pointer to reference something before they use it.

I had one lady that would come to me a couple of times a week with that exact problem. The sad part was that she was making nearly twice what I was at the time.

Even with training and experience in programming there are still people who have no business writing code.

Re:Efficient? (1)

kerry-buckley (647774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820555)

Just out of curiosity...any developers want to comment on the efficiency of the proposed method? I mean...wouldn't that eat up a LOT of time to sort through the code and see what is useable and what isn't? And in that timeframe...wouldn't it have been quicker just to have the developer write the code himself?

I'd have thought so, yes. I've spent longer reviewing code from allegedly-qualified subcontractors to get it even close to production quality than it would have taken to write in the first place, so trying to do the same with well-meaning beginners would be a nightmare.

Not to say non-programmers shouldn't give it a go, of course – I expect that's how most of us got started.

Already fuzzy (2, Interesting)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820117)

Most of the developers I work with in contracting positions know less than the average Joe, even an excel macro would be stretching their abilities. Yet they all have Senior Programmer II titles or some such thing.

It started with VB, and will continue... More and more of these non-programmers start thinking they are developers, and getting hired into positions they don't belong in.... and America's corporations are paying for it in cold hard cash and wasted time.

Hopefully there will be a new paradigm in developer evaluation sometime in the near future, so that there will be a clear metric to determine a persons ability, and thus hire-ability.

Re:Already fuzzy (1)

bhsurfer (539137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820299)

I've spent a lot of my career "un-fucking-up" applications that were written by the very same type of non-developers you're talking about. I wouldn't necessarily blame it all on VB though; the people I'm referring to don't use it, don't know it, and STILL can't design or code an application. Not that VB hasn't contributed it's share of problems, but I propose that lack of a grasp of the fundamentals of program design is the main problem.

The empahsis, once the easy to use tools are there, should be on logic and flow rather than syntax. People who are unable to clearly state both their business problem and their proposed solution are never going to be able to programmatically fix it regardless of the ease of use their tool provides. I have seen dastardly data models hiding behind lovely Access forms, for example, because the front end tools were there but the underlying knowledge wasn't.

Hell, bring 'em on! The more clueless development that there is going on out there the more work I'll have fixing these messes. Allowing unqualified people to perform important business tasks is of questionable wisdom.

Re:Already fuzzy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820640)

If you want fucked up code take a look at X++ code in Microsoft Axapta its a total peice of SHITE emitted from a room of 1000 monkeys with Dell typewriters.

Re:Already fuzzy (1)

biobogonics (513416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820737)

Most of the developers I work with in contracting positions know less than the average Joe, even an excel macro would be stretching their abilities. Yet they all have Senior Programmer II titles or some such thing.

It started with VB, and will continue...


What's wrong with VB or other high level languages? At one time assembly was the only way I could get programs to run at reasonable speed on limited hardware. But those days are long past. There is no reason not to be able to do "rapid application development". There is no reason that you have to program on "bare metal" to access the Windows GUI API. Abstracting a lot of that away can be a good thing. You still end up having to know some principles in the end.

... More and more of these non-programmers start thinking they are developers, and getting hired into positions they don't belong in.... and America's corporations are paying for it in cold hard cash and wasted time.

No the real program is with management that does not want to understand the technology or that makes deals with big name consulting firms. These hire fresh graduates, work them to death, bill up the wazoo and end up producing product that is behind schedule and over budget.

Hopefully there will be a new paradigm in developer evaluation sometime in the near future, so that there will be a clear metric to determine a persons ability, and thus hire-ability.

Thank you Dr. Buzzword for your insight. This will only happen when magement gets a clue or HR gets a clue. Meanwhile I'm chilling a pair of skiis for a slalom run through Hades.

The problem isn't with writing bad code... (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820123)

...it is with 'joe average' using only the tool he knows. For example, companies that use spreadsheets where they should be using databases. Heck, using spreadsheets with macros for 'code' even. You want joe average involved? Make him work with a DBA for the storage, but let him work on the 'interface' to that data using whatever tools he is comfortable with. That would be great because mr. average is definitely the expert in making an interface that makes his own job more efficient, but having the right back end ensures that all groups can effectively share their information (or not share as security dictates).

Re:The problem isn't with writing bad code... (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820310)

Well, any tool can be abused but not all abuse is bad. [shareup.com] Gotta love this one :)

Couldn't Disagree More! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820124)

It takes a long time to become a good programmer, and even good programmers can produce some pretty sloppy code. I fail to see how encouraging the unwashed masses to pick up a copy of Visual Studio 9.0 and the latest "Learn To Program in 3 Minutes" book will actually result is less-buggy code. It would certainly create lots of crappy code.

Programming has changed since the days of assembler, but for anything more complex than a macro to calculate your GPA from an Excel document, it's still a mighty tough job. 25 years ago, you'd write something in assembler or C, it would take you 3 months, and it would do the same thing you can do today in a week in Java. Nowadays, you just spend 3 months doing it in Java because the applications are far more complex.

Tis True! I can help anyone in MS Excel VBA (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820126)

I can code data entry macros faster than anyone south of the Mason-Dixon.

big line between hardcore devs and joes (3, Insightful)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820134)

[QUOTE]The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy[/QUOTE]

Not really - the hardore devs will be far more productive and be able to implement complex programs requiring algorithmic insight, the joes will be able to to implement stuff that requires simple logic and interfaces. Of course there will be lots of useful stuff that a joe could do, it just won't be the same kinds of stuff that the hardcore dev will be doing.

LetterRip

Easy Answer (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820137)

No.

Duke Nukem? (2, Funny)

nmccart (952969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820141)

So, with 1000 open source programmes working at 1000 dummy stations, they should be able to produce Duke Nukem 3D?

Re:Duke Nukem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820362)

You lack a brain sir, quit with your damn "Will it run linux", "soviet russia you", and other such things, it does NOT make you look smart you dumb fucking bastard

Homer Simpson writes software.... (1)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820150)

I'm sure we all remember the Simpsons episode where his brother thinks that an "average guy" can design a better car then the "eggheads" he has working for him?

I don't expect the results from this venture to be as good as that.

Nuff said,

=tkk

Fantasy. (2, Funny)

torokun (148213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820157)

99% of users don't even want to open the help. This guy's smoking some collaborative utopia crack.

Too early. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820165)

Sure, Average Joe would benefit greatly from even using marcos or knowing regular expressions, but the fact of the matter is that He would've 10 years ago too. What has changed in 10 years to somehow make scripting more accessable? Data accessability? Web apps? I don't think so.

thIs is goatsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820168)

standards should then disappeared KKed to be Kreskin *BSD has lost more today. It's about Long term survival world-spanning has steadily enjoy the loud Taken over by BSDI what provides the that the project so on, FreeBSD went exploited that. A recent article put

Billions and billions of monkeys (1)

exa (27197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820182)

I think I'm getting it. This is like turning every project
to Gnome, right?

Some evil voice inside me says that if you increase the number
of monkeys, random code generation still won't scale,
the number of possible codes increases exponentially with
code length.

What's worse, you need to increase the number of critics as fast,
so reproducing Shakespeare with a million monkeys strapped
to the keyboard isn't possible with that sort of "flaming
away". If you don't believe me, just browse the WWW.

Now, there is the hypothesis that the average joe will do
better than random code generation. I like that idea, but
in the end that just mean that learning how to code is a no-brainer.
I don't quite buy that.

Re:Billions and billions of monkeys (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820424)

Some evil voice inside me says that if you increase the number
of monkeys, random code generation still won't scale,
the number of possible codes increases exponentially with
code length.


That evll voice wouldn't be named Gene Ahmdal [vub.ac.be] would it?

(Yes, yes, I know. Ahmdal's law was about computer programs. But you have to admit that it applies this situation amazingly well.)

Re:Billions and billions of monkeys (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820459)

s/Ahmdal/Amdahl/g

Stupid Internet.

Every five years or so (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820193)

It is announced that the role of the "programmer" has ended. Either the new stuff is just so simple that anyone can do it without any training at all, or the machine will program itself as it learns what you want to do.

This has been going on since the beginning of 4th generation langauges, which came about in the late 1970's. There were actually some reasonable achievements which have been utterly lost now. But nothing that would replace programming completely.

While there is lots of benefits to including users into a project to make sure it remains useful and usable, this doesn't mean trying to help non-programmers join in the programming effort. It isn't the programming training they lack, it is the programming orientation towards thinking about the problem they lack.

OOP and Non Programmers (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820418)

I seem to remember in the early hype about OOP that OOP would end the role of the programmer. OOP was supposed to lead to a utopia where the end user would be grabbing and assembling objects to customize their environment and that the distinction between programmer and Joe Public would blur.

It seems to me that the actual effect of OOP was to raise the bar. Joe Public seemed to have a much better inuitive idea of procedural programs.

BTW, I've always seen the distinction between programmer and public as blurry. Every company I've worked with has had people engaged at different levels in the process.

Re:OOP and Non Programmers (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820518)

I seem to remember in the early hype about OOP that OOP would end the role of the programmer. OOP was supposed to lead to a utopia where the end user would be grabbing and assembling objects to customize their environment and that the distinction between programmer and Joe Public would blur.

No, that was 4GL. OOP was supposed to make programming more structured, easier to manage, and quicker to code. While many programmers will swear up and down that it has achieved these goals, researchers were never able to quantify any performance boosts in OOP development.

Increased Workload for Code Reviewers? (1)

deeLo57 (641046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820196)

What a horible idea,
wouldn't this just overwhelm the reviewers who now have to filter though all the noise?
nothing like bringing productivity to a grinding hault

...and you'll just find bigger fools (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820204)

The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.'"

No, it most certainly will not get fuzzy.

Billy G has tried for years to get the average office worker capable of making their own macros, then blobs of VB script, now inline .NET snippets - Much to the dismay of those of us who need to make everything magically better when an "average Joe" actually tries using some of these features and blows away the entire 2005 regional accounts receivable ledger.

Like it or not, the average Joe can't do DIVISION. He can't add up a line of numbers without a calculator. Fractions hurt his poor widdle head. While we debate about whether or not to allow version numbers to go 1.8 1.9 1.10, the Average Joe doesn't even grasp why that poses a problem in the first place.

The average Joe likes the Imperial system of measurements. I rest my case.


So no, the line between coders and users will NOT blur anythime soon, or ever. Coders understand what those code snippets do. Users can barely manage the hotkeys to activate those code sequences.


Now... If you ask, "Will making it easier to write code snippets in common apps draw out a few more people with undiscovered coding skills - Yes. And Albert Einstein worked as a patent clerk. Don't make too much out of the connection.

Re:...and you'll just find bigger fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820400)

god you're an insufferable dork. "fractions hurt his poor widdle head" ? the average joe knows how to divide and use fractions you elitist snob.

Re:...and you'll just find bigger fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820517)

god you're an insufferable dork. "fractions hurt his poor widdle head" ? the average joe knows how to divide and use fractions you elitist snob.

Ever role-played with non-geeks?

Most people need a calculator to take the average of two numbers. It isn't much of a stretch to say that most people can't hack fractions or division in general.

Though, that doesn't mean the GP isn't an elitist snob... But stating the truth doesn't (automatically) make someone an insufferable dork.

Re:...and you'll just find bigger fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820674)

What does doing an average without a calculator have to do with programming?

Too many cooks (2, Insightful)

DoctorSVD (884269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820206)

Anyone who has done serious development knows that this is nonsense. Large software projects depend critically on skilled developers to provide a sound overall design - you can't just throw more people at the problem. The book "The mythical man month" argues this point quite convincingly.

Just like Microsoft Access! (4, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820218)

Our organization currently has a headache when non-developers make an Access database, get their department relying on it, and then leaving the organization. When things break, the developers get sucked into having to maintain this monstrosity.

We're trying hard to disavow them completely, but it's hard to say no when the customer insists its part of a vital healthcare function. For those, we've sometimes rewritten them using a real SQL back-end, web browser client, and code we can support and maintain.

Making tools to let non-developers do things isn't necessarily bad, it's just that there has to be clear expectations as to support. Writing web applications isn't the same as typing up a Word document or making an Excel spreadsheet with a couple macros. It's easy for non-developers to quickly get in over their heads.

Re:Just like Microsoft Access! (1)

CommieLib (468883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820401)

I've dealt a lot with this sort of circumstance. The best approach is to begin implementing a facade pattern, function by function, until the whole amorphous mess is inside it. At this point, some stuff is pointed at Sql, some is pointed at Access, or what have you.

Next, you get everything pointed at Sql. Once that is done, take some time and get unit tests around the functions; this will help you in the next step. Document the functions while you write the tests. Finally, break the facade back into multiple layers and objects, and refactor like mad until you've got good, testable, documented code.

Vital healthcare software running on Access...that's scary.

Re:Just like Microsoft Access! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820684)

That is exactly the reason why, nobody but nobody gets access installed where I work for any reason. This one little policy has literally saved us thousands of wasted man hours trying to upgrade somebodies hacked little access application that has outgrown itself.

Second rate science (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820257)

Why is it that nobody, including, apparently, slashdot editors, respects software development as a proper scientific or engineering discipline.

Do you think it is even possible for someone to suggest that a mass of "average Joes" (you know, those people that hardly passed SAT's) would provide useful feedback to mathematicians or physicists to improve their research? And yet it appears perfectly normal that they suggest to "programmers" how to make things better:)

Personally it appears to me that the value of user (that is what average Joe is) input is high when we discuss WHAT the software is going to do and how it will interact with the user. That is where his input ends and software design begins.

In fact I beleive that it is precisely this "utilitarian everyone-can-do-it" approach to programming that breeds scores of iterative solution (i.e. those solutions that are found by iterating over the entire set of possible results, for those "average Joes" that did not know).

Call this a flamebait if you will, but make sure the damn average Joe keeps his sweaty little brain out of my work!!!!!

Re:Second rate science (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820375)

You've found the reason why PHP exists.

Re:Second rate science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820672)

Why is it that nobody, including, apparently, slashdot editors, respects software development as a proper scientific or engineering discipline.

Because software development is not in the same league as other scientific or engineering disciplines. Computer science is, but not software development.

Write code... yes but how? (1)

zubinjdalal (816389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820264)

I've always liked to think that good programming is 50% skill and 50% art. Why? Because sure you can get the final results (which mostly depend on skill) but what also matters is how you get those results.

Take a look at code written by well-know code shops, CS graduate students, etc. I'm sure that even though the code works, one wouldn't find a good percentage of that code acceptable by "good" programming standards.

Getting back to leaving the fate of the world to Joe Blow, assuming you can get past the "I can't understand programming logic" barrier, and you assume the availability and use of excellent programming apps (then you're just giving them something that enables them to generate code automatically while designing in a word processor) to make up for lack of skill, you will get code that is badly written, very inflexible and extremely unoptimized.

Hardly what I would call "programming".
 

An excellent idea! (2, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820266)

Maybe we should let Joe Average try his hand at other things, too, like air traffic control or surgery. Hell, we already let him pretend to be president.

The line will remain! (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820277)

There is no fuzzy line between programmers and people that can put together some basic Excel macros. Or more specifically, there's no fuzzy line between Application developers and people that can write macros. Writing a macro, for a real programmer, is trivial. Writing an application, for someone who only knows how to write excel macros, on the other hand, is an impossible feat, for the most part.

Application development isn't just understanding some basic logic and a few commands. It involves understanding a complex process, having an understanding of algorithms and patterns. It's understanding complex interactions between parts of the system. These are not things you learn when you write a few Excel macros now and then. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

There's a reason colleges and universities offer B.S., M.S. and PhD degrees in Computer Science. Because it takes a long time to learn this stuff and it can't be learned without spending a great deal of time studying it.

Hell, there's not even a fuzzy line between someone who can write little C utility apps and an application developer.

The day when Joe Average can build real applications isn't coming anytime soon. That day won't arrive until computers can actually think for Joe Average and fill in for the huge gap in understanding.

VB (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820292)

There's a HUGE community of visual basic developers. All they do is pass around their ignorance. The community doesn't weed out the weak when the whole community is filled with the weak. I should know. I was a member of that VB community for 10 years. In my spare time I learned much more and moved on. But I'm not going back and helping out that poor community. The best learn more and move on. Darwin doesn't apply.

Mr. Show provides answers (1)

nodnarb1978 (725530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820297)

Yeah, lower-level programming will continue to get easier. But by then the really slick programmers will all be working on....SPACE PLANS.

Seriously, imagine the problems yet to be hurdled in computer and software engineering, and consider the layman's ability to tackle those problems.

The sky is not falling because Joe Average is getting more computer-savvy. It's the other way around.

Right... (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820301)

I can put on a bandaid and apply antibiotic ointment, but I don't claim I'm a doctor. I know what hearsay is, but don't claim I'm a lawyer. I framed my basement over the last few weeks, but I won't be building houses any time soon.

2+2 = Differential Calculus (1)

The Wookie (31006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820304)

The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.
And thanks to Mathematica, the line between mathematicians and the average Joe is starting to get very fuzzy.

Couldn't be worse then Engineers Code. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820312)

I say the coding by the common man wouln't be any worse then engineers codeing. Wich in my opinion is only worse then my spelling and grammer. ...
DUCK

Not sure all the parts of TFA will come true (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820383)

Although there will always be a need (or at least a desire for easy top level tools that user-persons can control, edit, and use), I don't think critical systems should have engineering input from inexperienced individuals of any job function. These individuals should spend their time better defining and documenting what they need to be done for them, not how something should be done.

It seems to be a cyclical thing - where some particular language/technology/idea is going to revolutionize business processes and eliminate the need for most software developers... I have yet to see such a tool/technology/language/idea work on a long-term basis.

The bottom line is that there is no substitute for trained/experienced minds wrapped around a software development effort - even basic things like development patterns (formal or intuitive) are not generally within the grasp of Joe/Jane non-developer.

In summary, I applaud folks for continually trying to improve development processes... but I think that users should deal with user "scripty" stuff, and leave the critical/long-term/important software development to folks who understand the task best. Similarly, if there is someone who "blurs the line" between developer and user, and does a good job of building maintainable solutions - I think they are really heading towards software development anyway.

If You Make It Accessable, They Will Come (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820396)

I know an accountant. This guy is not a programmer by any manner or means.

Yet his spreadhseet are filled to bursting with simple summation formulae, and more advanced results. He even has a few if statements sprinkled in for good measure. He also records macros, carefully and with thought applied.

He also codes a lot in Access databases, regularly dipping in and out of the raw SQL. On occassion, he will even dip out to the command line, to what he refers to as "DOS".

After several years, he tried to get into VB programing, probably to try some VBA programming. It didn't work out so well, but the key point here is that this guy was a BS student. Not an honors BS student mind. The classic, "booze through college", BS student. Yet, to be frank, in a very real sense, he is a type of computer programmer.

He creates programs for computers.

He's able to do this because the languages he used are accessable to him. VBA through macros, spreadsheet commands, SQL through Access GUIs. If you asked him, he never realise he was actually "programming" anything.

Other people do it all the time. People create filters for their email. Shortcuts on their keyboard. Macros for their games and office apps. Change settings on their microwave or video or cellphone. Use TiVo. They are all creating, or more usually modifing, programs for computers. They just do it in a more restricted, but more accessable way than "real programmers".

End users need to be able to create programs if they are to really unlock the potential of the computer. They need to be able to easily create the most simple of programs, in a "language" that is so simple they don't even realise it's programming. They're not going to learn BASIC or Ruby. But they just might learn a little "Digital Radio Tuning++" or "TiVo on Rails".

Fisher Price Programming? Maybe. But it's better than nothing at all.

If You Make it Accessible, They Will *** The Pooch (1)

harborpirate (267124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820754)

What you say is true, but there are two fundamental problems:

1) These types of users sometimes attempt to create a fully realized system. Then when it gets beyond 40 users, and it starts tanking (recent real world example), then what happens? Either they're just hosed, or they have to call in the big guns - real Application Developers. We usually find its easier to start from scratch than attempt to work through the code to figure out what exactly it does. I can't tell you how many of these I've seen in a production environment.

2) More importantly, in many cases, management thinks these guys know what they're doing. They manage to create some little access process that stores a few thousand rows of data, with an Access Report frontend, and suddenly these guys are "Programmers". Then they give them an assignment that ramps up beyond a few hundred thousand rows, the "app" blows up in their face, and now there is a great big emergency and my team suddenly gets a priority shift to replace the stupid Access process in an unrealistic amount of time.

Access, excel; they're great as long as you stay under a certain level of complexity. Most users/corporations don't know where that line lies, and when they step over it, the consequences are often disasterous.

PERL (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820425)

programming should be opened out to non-developers.

Isn't that what PERL is all about?

/me ducks.

No thank you sir (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820444)

Joe Average can suggest ideas for a program, but there's no way in hell that I'm letting him work on it himself. I have a hard enough time helping those who are supposed to be CS/CE majors understand basic Java programming at my college.

Even at my internship I see terrible programmers, I'm updating a simple calendar program used internally. The code is done so horribly, with super redundancies and back assward logic, that I'm not sure how it got put into production in the first place. I've wound up just rewriting entire portions, instead of just adding the features requested (partly because I couldn't do the latter without some of the former.) Granted, I'm no highly-trained expert, but this stuff was just plain bad.

And this was made by a supposedly "real" programmer in the corporate world (in Coldfusion, no less).

I say we work on getting people who are already programming, but doing a lousy job, up to snuff before we start letting everyday people into the process.

Because average human is stupid (1)

Dark_MadMax666 (907288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820453)

Heck even an average code monkey is stupid. He can remember how to follow templates , use crystal reports, use select_ from_where, do for loop and drag widgets in MSVC . But they do not understand anything which goes beyond repeating a few proven formulae's. Good engineering or design? -forget about it . Many of them cant even properly use the tools they supposedly were trained on (you know how to effectively use debuggers, profilers ).I knew quite a few ppl doing databases whose designs were absolutely atrocious - they never could grasp such concepts as normalization ,consistence and good data modeling . About 90% programmers I met have no clue about object oriented design and architecture, yet they think they mastered it because they can grab an event from button press. Granted not all coders are that stupid , but many of them are, and those are professionals ,who supposedly learnt CS in college , and has years of coding experience .

p.s. Same can be said about other IT ppl .Like network administrators. Many of them have no clue about operating systems , networks ,software - they just know how to properly react to buzzwords . They are pavlov-trained how to use mmc applets, a few web interfaces , ping command and that's it . I met some who couldn't configure firewall even if their life depended on it - Anything which requires even slightest bit of knowledge they contract out - . And that's relatively good ones .Bad ones just ignore problems they are resistant to any new deployment /upgrade/maintenance for the fear of change till the network falls apart completely and/or stops fulfilling business needs.

Some smart ppl can do some macro coding ,yet majority of them do incredibly stupid things (like pretending excel sheet is database and putting many thousands of rows in it , with lookups replacing select ,resulting in macros which runs for hours and crashes every other time ,while 2 dozen lines statement in SQL on a normal database does same job in 45 seconds )

And this article talks about average Joe programming ,lol. They are completely lost when recycle bin is moved to different place on their desktop , or a menu item moved a few lines away. Jeez ppl need be realistic.

Actually, its a good idea (1)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820512)

I think the idea is NOT to make so-called "average joes" into programmers like today's programmers by giving them a copy of intelli-j or whatever.

The thing to do is to have really good tools that allow domain experts to "program" for their needs, and thus take out the middle man-- you, the grumpy "rigorously-thinking" programmer.

Honestly, I can't believe the arrogance of some of the comments I read on here. Some of you asshats think you are god's gift of logic to the world.

what line? (1)

darkain (749283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820551)

line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.

no, its still there. plain and clear. hardcore programmers write the API, and the script kiddies still write lame little "hacking" utils that really dont do much of anything useful.

Fuzzy math (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820574)

The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.

But if your job or your life depended on it, I think the logical choice would be to go with a hardcore developer.

It's happening already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14820600)

Using http://javascript.internet.com/ [internet.com] makes you a DHTML *programmer*? Or do we need more fodder for http://www.thedailywtf.com/ [thedailywtf.com] ?

Somehow, this scares me...

Obligatory Simpsons Quote... (1)

DFisherman (556930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820607)

First meeting between Joe Average and programmer:

Programmer: "So what features should we put in this accounting program?"

Joe Average: "I want a horn here, here, and here. You can never find a horn when you're mad. And they should all play 'La Cucaracha'"

The line might change, but will not become fuzzy. (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820632)

The line between hardcore developers and the average Joe will start to get very fuzzy.

Says who?

The line might change into one between software engineers and 'casual' programmers. The last group are people who previously would not write computer programs, but are now also able to create quick solutions to practical everyday problems. Which is definitely a good thing IMO.

On the other hand there are what I would call software engineers: people who know how to design and construct software in a well-structured manner, who know what they're doing because they are experienced and know the tools of the trade: the capability to choose the right level of abstraction in their designs, and to select the right programming languages/frameworks etc. for the job at hand.

I think it is possible to draw a very clear line between people who have these capabilities, and those who don't.

You could compare it with normal, mechanical engineering: I know the general laws of physics, gravity, some basic things about properties of concrete, wood and steel. Using this knowledge, I could probably build a bridge across the 6-feet wide creek in my backyard (except for the fact that my house doesn't even have a backyard :( ). However, I am utterly unqualified to design, and even less construct any worthwile artifact of mechanical engineering (like, a well-designed bridge crossing a normal river).

I would say the line between those two is pretty clear-cut, right?

Yeah right (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820639)

I never understood this backwards idea that as time goes on everyone will be a programmer! (when really, there was a time all computer users could program...)

Has everyone become a mechanic? Has everyone become an electronics repairman?

The point is most people can hardly turn their computer on. It's getting *harder* for them to use computers as they become more complex. Computer programs have also become much more complex. Therefore computer programming is becoming more and more specialized. Now you have programmers who only program certain types of things and it's going to move this way more and more.

Until you invent that magical compiler for that magical programming language which "just knows" what to make, this is never going to happen.

What Shortage? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820661)

that programming should be opened out to non-developers.

Gee, are we suffering a programmer shortage? Is anyone being paid big bucks and stock options to jump companies this year? Were recruiters lined up at your door and ringing your phone off the hook with job offers last time you were looking for programming work?

I don't think we need more programmers yet.

But this would be great fodder for Dilbert -- Scott Adams are you listening?

Linus/Dijkstra (1)

hopeless case (49791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820668)

Man, if Linus thought Dijkstra hated him, imagine what Dijkstra would have thought of Mr. Behlendorf.

He's out of touch. (1)

rdmiller3 (29465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14820726)

I think it's good that this pontif of Mozilla code has deigned to allow mere mortals to contribute. The author of the article is likewise to be lauded for his gracious treatment of the average user. Unfortunately, both of them are so far up in their ivory tower that they've lost touch with "the average Joe".

Joe User doesn't even know how to make an Excel Macro.

Joe User thinks computers are "magic".

Joe User and all his buddies laugh beer out their noses after one of them gives the local nerd a wedgie.

Even if you teach Joe User to write code, he will never care whether the code is Good.

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