With the blinders off

time to read 3 min | 566 words

Scott Bellware is talking about Gloryhounds:

Gloryhounds are often already visible members of the community.  Upon achieving a certain level of authority in their particular specialization, and a sufficient level of visibility, they rally to an impending new technology release, and work with the benefactor to bring a semblance of impartial evangelism to the community while the benefactor provides the Gloryhound with opportunities that bolster his status through promotional engagements supporting the new technology.

Scott has a decidedly... un-commercial streak, which I can both appreciate and disagree with. I appreciate it because I have been flat out lied to by people that had commercial interest in technological decisions, and I disagree because I don't think in advance that anything commercial is suspect by default.

Ben Scheirman then asks:

Is it wrong that I'm excited about ASP.NET MVC?  Should people not listen to me "preach" it because I didn't invent Rails, MonoRail, Django & others?

No, it is not, period.

However, getting excited about it without ever going out and learning about the rest is a bad idea in many ways. Deciding that this is the true path, so decreed by [vendor] is almost always a bad decision.

Making the decision that this product or approach is the best out there because you have tried a significant portion of them is almost always a good decision.

Some people thinks that NHibernate is problematic, because it doesn't comes with VS integration and drag & drop. I disagree, and I see a lot more value in the flexibility that I get from the approach that NH has chosen. That means that if you want to argue OR/M with me you should have experience in building applications that relies on OR/Ms.  If one would want to argue, "I just saw an EF demo, and the designer is great, so it is the best thing out there" I am going to label that guy as uninformed.

No, demo applications are not good enough. You need a real project or two to get things rolling, you need to bang your head against a technology. You need to code in anger and swear eternal vengeance against the authors' ancestors  nine generations backs and three forward.

In other words, if your use of the tool has never cracked it around the edges, you haven't done enough to really tell how it is going to be. After you have done that, you should also look at the other tools, not to the same level, but to a degree where you are familiar with them enough to discuss their pros and cons from a knowledgeable position.

Then, I think that you are capable of being a "recognized leader in the problem space", as Scott so eloquently puts it

For myself, I read Java, Rails and Erlang books occasionally, just to make sure that I don't walk with blinders on. I keep an eye on what is going on around in both the .NET land and in other frameworks and platforms. This is also not something that I believe that you can just sit still and let past results indicate future performance.

And, I think, the key point to take from Scott's post and Ben's question is that there is a distinct difference between saying: "oh look, it can do back flips while singing the top 50, cool!" vs. "as a recognized leader...".