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No frameworks please

Response to Peter Wayner’s recent article at cio.com. I’m not responding on the site because login to the site demands way too much in the way of rights to my social media accounts (e.g. it wants to be able to post to Twitter under my name). The article was brought to my attention via the dspace-tech list and I knew the author way back when.

Hi Peter, long time no see. You say that proliferation of programming languages was a bad thing; that frameworks are the modern equivalent of programming languages; and that the proliferation of frameworks is a good thing. How does this make any sense? I agree that a lot of the creative juice that used to go into programming languages now goes into frameworks, and that once you get past syntax they are basically the same. The problem with frameworks, as with programming languages, is that they don’t combine in any meaningful way. You have to commit to one of them within any given address space. To combine them you have to resort to interprocess calls, which these days usually means HTTP requests, often with a huge performance hit. Frameworks mean lock-in and rigidity. The right approach to software architecture is not frameworks, but libraries and toolkits. These interoperate nicely with one another and allow you to compose new artifacts from existing ones, recursively. Interoperation and composability are supposed to be the dividend we reap by standardizing on a programming language; frameworks throw that dividend away.

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