Another fine piece of expression by Joel (Spolsky) -- on software. IBM's, Goolge's & everybody's this time...
As a programmer, thanks to plummeting memory prices, and CPU speeds doubling every year, you had a choice. You could spend six months rewriting your inner loops in Assembler, or take six months off to play drums in a rock and roll band, and in either case, your program would run faster. Assembler programmers don’t have groupies.
It's called "Strategy Letter IV" and in it Joel draw's a haunting comparison between some early difficulties of word-processing in the mainframe era and today's world of AJAX.
But Ajax apps can be inconsistent, and have a lot of trouble working together — you can’t really cut and paste objects from one Ajax app to another, for example, so I’m not sure how you get a picture from Gmail to Flickr. Come on guys, Cut and Paste was invented 25 years ago.
And this about Google...
...while you’re not paying attention, everybody starts writing NewSDK apps, and they’re really good, and suddenly businesses ONLY want NewSDK apps, and all those old-school Plain Ajax apps look pathetic and won’t cut and paste and mash and sync and play drums nicely with one another. And Gmail becomes a legacy. The WordPerfect of Email.
But it's not just about Google.
One assumption Joel makes here -- and which bolsters many business plans (and one I knew intimately) -- is that bandwidth keeps growing. It may. But yesterday my Skype performance was so lousy that I had to doubt this received wisdom...for a moment.