April 02, 2010

Agent Martin

Today, I was listening to the devnology podcast (6th edition). This relatively new podcast hasn't been able to keep my attention for long so far. Most of the time I listen to the first few minutes, and then I usually "zap" away to another podcast that happens to be on my iPod. Not today, because they had interviewed Robert Martin, or "Uncle Bob". Such an inspiring personality. He speaks in a manner that makes you think twice before doubting what he says, let alone criticize.

While I was listening, I kept thinking what a familiar voice he has, although I was sure I had never heard Uncle Bob speak before. I read some of his books (a long while back), but I had never heard his voice. But still, that thought kept nagging in the back of my mind. Robert speaks in a calm manner and seems to have thought about every word he says. It is almost as if he reads from a live script in his head. That is partly true of course, because he is obviously interviewed lots of times and he often speaks at conferences and such. So, he must have a lot of statements in his head where he draws from on those occasions.

And then it hit me. He sounds just like that character "Agent Smith" from the Matrix. Especially when he seems to be re-saying a profound statement. A statement like this for instance: "I tended to dislike high level languages, because they separate you from the metal". When he said that my primary thought was "yeah, he's right, we lost touch with the metal".

At a certain point in the interview, Uncle Bob remarks upon certification. He gives an analogy on how doctors become doctors and how lawyers become lawyers. That takes years and costs lots of money, but at a certain point, you have proven yourself worthy of the title. According to Uncle Bob, it is not at all like that for programmers. I quote: "Do we need something like that for programmers? Maybe we do. Do we have something like that? No. Are there attempts to pretend that we are going to make something like that? Yes, there are certification programs out there that are utterly meaningless, but they confer upon the developer this title of being certified. This is a disaster". Wow. So true.

Here is another quote from the interview. More or less Uncle Bob's exact words: "for 50 years, programming has been if-statements, while-loops and imperative statements. There are interesting ways to structure them, cute ways to organize them, but it comes down to statements, selections with if, looping with while, and that's what programming is. And it is going to stay that way for a very long time". Now picture Agent Smith. Dark shades, immobile face, dryly stating the above. If you are not "The One", you won't think of bringing anything against those words.

Just listen to the interview (if you are a developer, it is definitely worth your while), and hear for yourself:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: