Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thankful to be a Cocoa Programmer

The company I work for is interested in Microsoft's .NET framework; I am not. But, I was scrounging for free content on iTunes the other day and came across the .NET Rocks podcast, and out of idle curiosity downloaded a few episodes. They are well done, and put together by friendly people with an unflagging enthusiasm for Microsoft technologies. And they make me very happy to spend much—unfortunately not all—of my time working on Macs and iPhones.

Apparently, the target audience is comprised of developers putting together custom business applications; the kind of vertical apps corporate America (and apparently Dubai) consume by the megalines of code. Not the general purpose, high degree of finish, large user base applications I've spent much of my career writing, but database frontends and the like. It's the Bizarro world out there, where right justifying labels is considered a major advance in GUI development.

Any iPhone developers would be well served listening to the recent cast on Windows Mobile. As someone who was scrounging for work when the Mac had 3% market share, I can sympathize with the pathos of a product manager for Windows Mobile trying to put a brave face on disaster, but come on. This exchange pretty much sums up the level of wishfulness and straw grasping:
Host: So let me ask the question a different way: the next version, whatever it's called; should Apple be scared?
Rob Tiffany: Very scared.
Hosts: (laughs) YES!
Rob Tiffany: Very scared.
Hosts: I knew it.
Rob Tiffany: Yeah, yeah, we're working on some secret sauce out there.
Host: Not too secret anymore!

I will congratulate the hosts for not being blind to WinCE's current flaws: they gave Rob a hard time about how the phone app on their phone was glacially slow; I'm just amazed they think it will get better. That old saying about a second marriage being the triumph of hope over experience..

And the episode on complying with the corporate governance rules of the Sarbanes Oxley law... If I had to do that sort of thing, I'd seriously consider going to work at Home Depot. How does one show up at work every day doing that sort of thing?

And that's the thing. I'm nearly always happy either going into work—assuming I won't be spending the whole day fixing OLE bugs on the PC—or pulling out my MacBook and add a refinement to an iPhone app. Life is sweet. I get to work in an application framework which was designed right from the start; light weight and powerfully elegant. I'm not one of a hundred cogs living in a condo in Dubai; I'm a sole practitioner, or an unblended part of a small team. I write software people don't have to be paid to use. I don't have to wait for the secret sauce which never comes. I am a Cocoa programmer, and for that I am thankful.