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Taking the Long View

I might be a heretic, but I'm coming to realize that while the bleeding edge of technology might be good for my résumé, for most business applications it's actually counterproductive. For the types of applications I've worked on over the years—management information systems, manufacturing systems, finance applications, middleware, and e-commerce apps—bleeding edge is not important. What really matters is rock solid, maintainable software that can be used reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Most of these applications required a large investment of time and money, with the intention that the new system would continue to evolve and improve for many years before needing replacement. With C and C++, it's easy to encapsulate dependencies on specific operating systems or components so that the application can be ported to new operating systems, databases, messaging subsystems, or GUI libraries. True, the port can sometimes be quite expensive, but it's always cheaper than rewriting the entire application, which would happen when the formerly bleeding-edge Java application is completely rewritten in C# to exploit some new GUI widget that's available only on the .NET platform.

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