20Mar

What A Bunch of Greybeards, And That’s A Good Thing…

Posted by Elf Sternberg as programming

My first impression was , “What a fucking bunch of greybeards.”

I went to Beerly Functional, a get-together of down-in-the-trenches programmers who were either using or interested in using Functional Programming, and my first impression upon walking into the room was exactly that: What a bunch of fucking greybeards, myself included.

And yet, as I paid attention to what was being said, the reason why we were all there became more and more apparent. We were tired of dealing with lousy development cycles. The biggest promises of Functional Programming are that it narrows the gap, both temporally and spatially, between where you create the bug and where it manifests. Functional programming emerges from the needs of lifelong programmers to stop fucking around with code-run-debug cycles; they want to produce excellent code the first time; they’re willing to adopt strong constraints on shoddy thinking and poor code in order to avoid that. They want to make software that gives a damn. They want to make software that they are comfortable saying, “This cannot fail.” They value quality and correctness, whereas most business people… don’t know how to assess that question, and they see the rapidity and widespread availability of developers in the shoddy languages like PHP and Javascript as signs of those language’s legitimacy.

So we raised a glass together, and we took on our missions: to teach each other what we knew, to get better at our craft, and to sell it to businesspeople who need to know there’s a better, faster way to get quality code in front of consumers.  We were greybeards; lifelong programmers who, whether we’d made our millions or not, wanted to keep making great code, not graduate into management and executive by 30.   We wanted to be the best.  And we knew the tools were within our grasp.

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