Monday, January 09, 2012

Why we study history

On my run today, 1-9-12, I was listening to the This Developer's Life podcast that spoke of the value of looking at older programming languages and technologies and what can be gained from looking back at the refined algorithms of older programming languages and the efficiencies of other older technologies. One thing that stood out to me within the discussion is the long life of the Fortran language. Fortran developer David Sokol stated that Fortran is largely supported by academic institutions and research. While software companies come and go, one thing that stays is the need to teach, study, and learn. This reminds me of the concept of "the root produces the fruit." In other words, information does not emerge from nothing. With continued use, refactorings, and adaption older languages can provide the context for gaining old ideas for new platforms and technologies.

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