Technologies and scale



Isn't it strange how as of late everyone talks obsessively about scale, as if everything we do absolutely has to be gigantic? It's starting to be a problem. No, seriously. Imagine wanting to buy a city car but all you can find in dealerships is 18-wheelers. Because, isn't it, scale only goes one way: up.

"But, Felix, how else?" you're going to ask. "What if I need to move around a shipping container's worth of stuff?"

Then you're obviously not on personal business anymore and you have to rethink the entire task. I mean, really? You don't even know the difference anymore?

Surprise! You've been dazzled by the propaganda, er, advertising, of big tech.

Half a year ago I was making plans to pick up progamming in Go again. It never happened. And the one big reason was that I dreaded having to deal with Go's arcane handling of modules.

Took me a while to figure out why, too. Turns out Go, being made by an internet giant for their own needs, assumes every project to be a large, complex application meant to serve millions. Hence all the scaffolding you're expected to put in place before doing anything else.

That's fine when you're tackling something big. But are you? Think carefully. Otherwise you might find yourself driving to work every day in an 18-wheeler, complaining about crowded roads and the lack of suitable parking. People already do that while driving ordinary cars, let alone anything bigger. Like an SUV.

So instead I picked up the Nim programming language. As with Go, this was my second try in four years. Except this time, Nim stuck. And a big reason is because it doesn't assume what my needs are. There's still a package manager to handle intricate dependencies... but I can also simply download a bunch of files and bundle them with my source code. No need for explicit "vendoring" or any such bureaucracy.

Oh, also Nim has terminal support in the standard library. Do you know how long Go programmers have been asking for something like that and nobody listened?

Nim is made by ordinary people. That's how it can be fit for human consumption.


Tags: technology, critique