Software Midlife Crisis

Nikita about today’s programmers who don’t care about performance or user experience.

Windows 95 was 30Mb. Today we have web pages heavier than that! Windows 10 is 4Gb, which is 133 times as big. But is it 133 times as superior? I mean, functionally they are basically the same. Yes, we have Cortana, but I doubt it takes 3970 Mb. But whatever Windows 10 is, is Android really 150% of that?

[….]

iPhone 4s was released with iOS 5, but can barely run iOS 9. And it’s not because iOS 9 is that much superior—it’s basically the same. But their new hardware is faster, so they made software slower. Don’t worry—you got exciting new capabilities like…running the same apps with the same speed! I dunno.

[….]

It just seems that nobody is interested in building quality, fast, efficient, lasting, foundational stuff anymore. Even when efficient solutions have been known for ages, we still struggle with the same problems: package management, build systems, compilers, language design, IDEs.

You can also read Danny Tuppeny’s rant about the similar topic. Also there is Maciej Cegłowski’s post about web design.

Personally, after the emergence of cloud, it has become a common theme to just throw another instance to the existing pool rather than investigate why tomcat server’s throughput is just 10/s . I am not joking. The application accepts input, performs some validations and pushes the change to RDMS and its throughtput was limited to serving only 10 requests. Apache webserver is not restarting, no problem, since we have a snapshot of the image, let’s bring it up and see if the issue is persisting still.

In an enterprise I worked, where machines were shared between products, we used to see all kinds of questions like, wouldn’t HashSet serve here better than the ArrayList you have used? Why are you launching a separate thread, is the request completion time so high that you need to launch another thread to process the functionality so and so? This kind of incremental improvement has been lost in today’s cloud environment and we are stuck with Medium loading a 2MB footer banner for every request.

The cat is out of the bag and unlike these guys, I don’t believe this situation can be improved by individuals.