Five Things I’m Probably Wrong About
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row
- DESOLATION ROW
A few months ago, I was chatting to a very wise man. He said to me: “If three people tell you that you’re drunk, even if you’ve had nothing to drink, you’d best go home and sleep it off”.
When people tell me that I’m drunk these days, I normally am. But there are some other things people keep telling me that I don’t agree with, so they’re probably right. They’re all related to the fact that I’m an old school control freak dog that probably can’t learn new tricks.
So, I give you Five Things I’m Probably Wrong About But Strongly Believe I’m Not. Maybe some long blog posts about any or all of these if people want to have an argument and educate me, but I’ll keep it short for now.
I prefer RDFa to Microformats. And I prefer RDF to XHTML for structured data. I’ll take structure and standards over conventions. Microformats are more popular than RDFa, and people are probably right that RDF is complex and hasn’t taken off. But I can’t help it. I just don’t like using CSS classes to imply semantics.
I prefer XSLT to all alternatives. I love forced well formed markup. I love the fact you can’t be lazy and hack. I love the override model and the terminology they use. I love XSLT so much that I don’t really know what the viable alternatives are. Freemarker? mustache? I hate all web templating languages that end in a P. That includes JSP, ASP(.NET), PHP. It’s not easy to make XSLT spaghetti like you see in the P langauges. I know the kids all think XSLT is complicated, verbose and slow, but I just don’t see it.
I prefer strongly typed to weakly typed languages. The theme of control continues. I’ve seen to many non-typed programmers write hundreds of test cases for their code which pretty much replicated a typing system. Compilers are an automated test suite in my book. While we’re here, I hate Perl more than anything else. Especially if the project team size is greater than one. “There’s more than one way to do it.” Sneaky fuckers just want to write code that is impossible to understand so that the weird guy on the second floor can keep his job maintaining it. I’ll have a double helping of consistency with some control sauce on top, please.
I prefer referential integrity to chaos. I like the fact I can’t get horseshit data into my system. While I believe the repository administrator should be able to disable referential integrity (REFINT) constraints for performance reasons in a tested, production environment, I can’t handle the mess my development repositories get in to. Many smart folk are telling me REFINT is a slow waste of time and a layer above the repo should be responsible for it. But I don’t buy that either. Note that I am a big NoSQL fan and prefer a hierarchical repository to a relational one.
So you see, I’m a freak. My developers are all tree-loving hippies that want flexibility. I want impose technologies that restrict the hell out of all of that. And you all thought I was the hippy! If any of you, dear readers, agree with me on any of the above, I’d feel a whole lot better. I’m feeling rather alone out here. I’m like the guy at the back of the crowd:
Brian: Please, please, please listen! I’ve got one or two things to say.
The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!
Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves! You’re ALL individuals!
The Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals!
Brian: You’re all different!
The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
Man in crowd: I’m not…
The Crowd: Sch!
- Life of Brian (1979)