Objective Heresy

David Crook (dcrook@commwerks.com)
Mon, 02 Feb 1998 20:11:37 -0800

Objects, CORBA, IIOP, Javabeans, ActiveX, DCOM -- Its all hype.

There, I had to say it. I just wanted to state my current opinion
before going on with this email. Its not an opinion is set in stone or
even in runny concrete. And its not that I really care about or have
any bad preconceptions about this stuff. I could be convinced
otherwise, but this is just my current opinion. I just get suspicious
whenever I see people with the job title of "Evangelist" describe
something in this field. I know that this email probably should have
been sent to dist-obj, but I've just started reading that list and
besides, bringing up the really tech stuff on here seems to tick off

I hear lot about this stuff, some of it on here. I hear that its the
next big thing, the wave of the future, etc. I think back to people
saying the same thing about VRML and virtual reality. Heck I even
talked to Worlds official VRML Evangelist (that was her official job
title, no joke). It sounded really great at the time. They went under
a few months back. It sounded really good, but no one was buying
(actually, it wasn't that there was nobody, it was that there wasn't

I've been doing this programming thing for about 6 years now. Basically
it comes down to this, I write some code for people, they pay me money.
Its a pretty simple system. I've watched C kinda fall by the wayside in
favor of C++ for most application development. The object oriented
programming method seems to be a real good fit for most app development,
especially for windows stuff. Using C++ class libraries sure beat
having a gigantic, ugly while loop in your code. So, don't get me
wrong, I'm not one of those programmers that, for lack of a better word,
are frightened about object oriented stuff. I just don't see the big

Its just that I like to keep track of the new things in the field. Back
when I was in aerospace there was an entire lab of 100+ programs that
programmed in jovial. This stuff was hip and happening at one place,
JPL, and that was during the 70's. I always wondered what they were
going to do when ghost of downsizings present wandered through their lab
and starting laying off people. I guess they were going to go out and
try to find a job in the fast passed world of jovial maintenance or they
were going to be collecting cans on the highway. My lab did c
programming. When we had our "Theres a problem with the funding"
meeting people bolted like rats fleeing a sinking ship. I already had a
job lined up so I turned in my notice less than an hour after the
meeting. They didn't even get a chance to give a "There is no reason to
panic" meeting before one of the managers left for greener pastures. I
think they laid 2 or 3 people off out of 40, the rest just found other
work. Most of the jovial people stayed on the bitter end. It taught me
something, keep up with the new stuff or practice saying "Do you want
fries with that". Its the primary reason I went back to graduate
school, I figured that my Unix/C background was reaching the far end of
"Current" and was starting to slip into "Outdated".

So I like to keep up on the newer stuff. Now I'm doing a research
class, which may eventually grow up into a thesis. So I figure its a
good excuse to check out this object stuff. I don't believe in it now,
but I just want to check it out to be sure. You got to keep an open
mind about things. So I've checked out dist-obj a bit and I've
downloaded a few papers. I'm ready to be convinced. Maybe some of you
people on here can point me to some stuff that will convince me that
this wasn't all made up by marketers. I just don't see that much
difference between having a object library and just having a regular
code library. You call some routines that someone else wrote, wow.
This talk about writing re-usable components, yawn, people have been
saying that one for a few years now. Distributed objects, you mean like
downloading other peoples code on the fly and running it, like Active
X? Excuse me while I run away in horror. The day I let Microsoft
update stuff on my harddrive when they feel like it (even if you sure
that it really IS microsoft and thats a separate issue in its self) is
they day that I just set my computer on fire and forget about it. I
don't install Microsoft products until its been out for at least a
month, usually longer. I like to wait for other people to beta test
things and find those gotchas like people getting their HD's BBQ'd by
doublespace. The same goes for any other vendor.

Am I just not understanding this stuff? Is there some major great new
thing that I just am not seeing? Please enlighten me, I do actually
want to learn. I'm right now trying to figure out something in this
area specific to study, since I'll have to do presentations on it. But
I figure I can spend at least semester on "the next big thing". Maybe
even a thesis, of course I'd have to be a believe by then.

Dave "You know, I remember similar talk about Ada back when I was an
undergrad" Crook

David Crook
Commwerks -- Industrial Strength Internet Solutions
dcrook@commwerks.com, http://www.commwerks.com