Keeping A Lid On It

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So I went to the TSOT Rails Project night last night, it was good to see some familiar faces and I enjoyed the presentations.

There was some to-be-expected discussion about Zed’s famous rant, which I won’t link to because it’s a little profane, and 3 presentations on projects that various members of the Toronto Rails community are working on.

Most technology focused communities have many participants that joined the community out of personal frustration with competing technologies. This is completely fair, and a great way to grow new communities. And I should just expect a degree of bashing when I go.

I’m a pretty opinionated guy. I’ve formed opinions about many things over the years, but the strongest opinion I seem to have gained is that opinions should not be taken as fact.  Which in itself is a bit of a paradox 🙂

I found myself in one conversation, where I lashed out at some anti-technology (Java specifically) comments, surprised myself before I could reel myself back in. Then spent the rest of the night thinking about it.

Now I’ve been known to bash technologies, I’ve never held back personal frustration at PHP or ASP. Why would I get so frustrated at others doing the same?

I think this is a common thing. We all travel through life with our own pools of experience, some overlap others, and especially with technology they are very complicated and funny shaped with weird overlappings. For example, take Java – frustration as a Java developer could be spawned from having to work with so many different environments. I really can’t fault a developer from reaching this personal state after years with Struts 1, or WebSphere, or J2EE.

I suppose the thing that frustrates me most is the blinders that some people put on. They form an opinion, and then never look at the technology again. It’s as if they expect that the technology will always be as it once was, or that the overall technology sphere is a reflection of just the particular facet that they saw.

Despite past frustrations with PHP, I’ve enjoyed tinkering with things like CakePHP. I’m willing to explore PHP5. Despite past frustration with J2EE and JSP/Struts, I’ve moved on to adopt and enjoy Java EE 5 and Facelets/Seam. Despite frustration with Ruby On Rails, I’ve enjoyed adopting Ruby as a replacement for administrative Perl scripting. I haven’t let petty technical faults that burned me in the past ruin my whole experience with the technology and keep me from building interesting things with it today.

I need to get better at recognizing personal opinion based on frustration and genuine zealotry. I feel pretty good about arguing with zealots (they deserve it), but not with folks who just had unfortunate experiences.

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