Adaption

The project I worked on at West Corporation was moving all the call logging off of the mainframe onto SQL Server. If you don't know, West Corporation is a telemarketing firm, so call logging in kind of a big deal.

Like any major project, there was some natural resistance to change. There were a number of developers who were comfortable writing COBOL based programs to access the data and generate reports. Switching from COBOL to .NET is a quite a shift. Yes you could write COBOL.NET. I can also drive my car with my knees, that doesn't make either one of them a good idea.

A lot of cheese was being moved. Fear was expected.

Okay, keep that all in mind. I was the one driving change in the above story.

Last year Google announced the latest version of Angular would work primarily with TypeScript.

The funny thing is, I reacted almost the exact same way as the COBOL developers did when confronted with .NET. I didn't like it. It is a completely new language.

I know how to write JavaScript. Why would I write in some other language and let the compiler translate the TypeScript into JavaScript. Can a compiler write better JavaScript than me? No way! I know a lot of little tips and tricks to squeeze performance out of my applications. No way some compiler is going to know them!

Darn kids, get off my lawn.

It was so weird being on the other end of the conversation. Back when I worked at West, I couldn't fathom how anyone would not want to improve themselves. Now I was guilty of doing the exact same thing.

What is even more funny is I have been working in .NET since 2004. .NET does the exact same thing as TypeScript. It compiles the C#/VB.NET into an MSIL which is then compiled into native machine language at run time. Is it just as fast as assembly or even C++? No, but it is darn close.

What was my fear?

I had reached the age when I felt my brain was full of enough programming languages. Why include another one? I'm old enough, I don't want to learn anything new dagnabit.

Tough. Shit.

If I want to stay relevant to my profession then I need to realize there is no such thing as enough. I have to always adapt to the latest languages so I can make sure I am an asset to my company and quite frankly to the development community in general.

In other words, I am in the process of learning TypeScript and Angular2. Is it hard? Yes and no. Tutorials help, and I have a wealth of knowledge in my own brain to help, but it is just different enough I have to learn the quirks. But in the end, that is what makes software development so exciting, it all changes very quickly.

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About Bob Walker
Omaha, NE
Founder of CodeAperture.io. Principal Software Architect in Omaha, Nebraska. Friend of Redgate. Working as a Full Stack Developer since 2004.