GUI tools are not the enemy

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 25, 2008, 1:09 AM | comments: 2

Joe Stump, the lead architect for Digg, makes a comment that really bugs me, while another is positive, in a recent "my life as a programmer post" (that's the Google cached version... ironically Digg has overwhelmed his own server):

More practical advice is that you should learn to know and love design patterns and avoid GUI’s. I have a real problem with people who say they know SQL because they’re well versed with an ORM or a DB’s GUI. Go back and read up on relational algebra and SQL92 before you say you know SQL okay?I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I think people should learn a single environment in and out and stick with it. This might mean you learn Microsoft’s technologies in and out or Cocoa or LAMP. You simply can’t be an expert in an area of computers without picking a single environment and sticking with it.

On one hand, I give him credit for his comment that you should get to know a particular platform inside and out. Extra +1 for not flaming Microsoft's platform.

I do not, on the other hand, agree with the notion that GUI tools are bad. I thought this stigma went away with VB6 (which I suppose is largely responsible for it), but come on man... there are some tight tools out there and they make it a lot more fun and efficient to write code. Using them does not equate to not understanding what's going on under the covers.

Comments

Joe, July 25, 2008, 12:06 PM #

"Using them does not equate to not understanding what's going on under the covers."

Tell that to the users of WYSIWYG HTML editors. Most people have no idea what the code actually does. Of course, we're talking two different realms which somewhat relate... but still.

Onceler, July 25, 2008, 2:30 PM #

You might be taking his comments out of context... and that context being Digg.com. Sure, most people probably don't find the need to performance tune the crap out of their code but many times to do that, you need to know the underlying language and what the heck is going on. From what I have read, to get the LAMP setup to perform like digg did requires a whole heck of a lot of tuning and tweaking.

I also think you are pretty much in agreement with him, how happy were you when Microsoft announced they were making the .net framework source available? I think this is more of what he is getting at... truly becoming a geek in your technology of choice.

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