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Published: 02 July 2014

The joy of working in web development agencies is having exposure to a great range of clients and developers. It’s also a great industry to be in because it’s always in a constant state of flux. Technologies, methodologies, architectures are all being changed on an almost daily basis.  

One of the things that will always makes me chuckle is when I hear someone say “<Technology X> will be the death of <Job Type Y>” or “<Technology X> is dead”.

When I first joined Sagittarius sevenish years ago I was listening to a conversation between several developers about how “you know flash is dead”. Four years ago Steve Jobs said “you know flash is dead” http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

All these years later and 98% of browsers have flash installed and depending on whom you ask it’s used by 30% and 40% of web pages online. Say it’s a more conservative 15% that’s 798 million pages. Compared with Silverlight or Java that’s still an enormous usage. Impressive for a technology I’ve been told is dead once a year for the past seven!

Microsoft released a server technology called Entity Framework. Lots of people were saying this is it; nobody will need Database Administrators anymore. Who needs them when you can use Entity framework to do all the grunt work for you. We can get rid of those highly paid DBAs and save ourselves a packet! Strangely enough it was complete nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong Entity Framework, Linq to Sql, Red Gate SQL Data Generator, NHibernate and the twenty others I’ve not mentioned are great products. They make life easier for end programmers like me.  But anybody who has seen a database schema setup by someone who doesn't know his normalise from his next gen would know why the above was always going to fail.

Let’s also not forget the industry forecast that mainframe computers are dead. Nobody has trained people on mainframe support and development since forever. After all it was a dead technology. But what they failed to take in to account is its heavy usage for small insignificant tasks like say the flight traffic control network! On the approach to the millennium various banks et al were hiring all the former employees who retired to come back in and help them prepare for the millennium bug. Mainframes are actually making a bit of resurgence due thin clients but that’s another story.

I could come up with many similar stories, but the fact is the industry and their experts don’t decide when a technology lives or dies. The deciding factor will always be the companies that rely on it and when they decide to move on.

So ladies and gentleman the year is 2014 and my forecast is:

Flash IS dead at least it might be if this countdown ever gets below 1%...


And the robots are about to put you out of a job….

“According to an Oxford University study that was featured on the cover of The Economist this week, 47 percent of the world’s jobs will likely be automated over the course of the next two decades.” – 22 JAN 2014


Richard Brisley

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