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15 hot programming trends -- and 15 going cold

Peter Wayner | Jan. 7, 2014
We present you with a list of what's hot and what's not among today's programmers. Not everyone will agree but that's what makes programming an endlessly fascinating profession.

Hot: GitHub
Not: Résumés
Sure, you could learn something by reading a puffed-up list of accomplishments that include vice president of the junior high chess club. But reading someone's actual code is so much richer and more instructive. Do they write good comments? Do they waste too much time breaking things into tiny classes that do little? Is there a real architecture with room for expansion? All these questions can be answered by a glimpse at some code.

This is why participating in open source projects is becoming more and more important for finding a job. Sharing the code from a proprietary project is hard, but open source code can go everywhere.

Hot: Renting
Not: Buying
When Amazon rolled out its sales for computers and other electronics on Black Friday, the company forgot to include hype-worthy deals for its cloud. Give it time. Not so long ago, companies opened their own data center and hired their own staff to run the computers they purchased outright. Now they rent the computers, the data center, the staff, and even the software by the hour. No one wants the hassles of owning anything. It's all a good idea, at least until the website goes viral and you realize you're paying for everything by the click. Now if only Amazon finds a way to deliver the cloud with its drones, the trends will converge.

Hot: Web interfaces
Not: IDEs
A long time ago, people used a command-line compiler. Then someone integrated that with an editor and other tools to create the IDE. Now it's time for the IDE to be eclipsed (ha) by browser-based tools that let you edit the code, often of a working system. If you don't like how WordPress works, it comes with a built-in editor that lets you change the code right then and there. Microsoft's Azure lets you write JavaScript glue code right in its portal. These systems don't offer the best debugging environments and there's something dangerous about editing production code, but the idea has legs.

Hot: Node.js
Not: JavaEE, Ruby on Rails, PHP
The server world has always thrived on the threaded model that let the operating system indulge any wayward, inefficient, or dissolute behavior by programmers. Whatever foolish loop or wasteful computation programmers coded, the OS would balance performance by switching between the threads.

Then Node.js came along with the JavaScript callback model of programming, and the code ran really fast — faster than anyone expected was possible from a toy language once used only for alert boxes. Suddenly the overhead of creating new threads became obvious and Node.js took off. Problems arise when programmers don't behave well, but the responsibility has largely been good for them. Making resource constraints obvious to programmers usually produces faster code.

 

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