I debated posting this entry. On the one hand the story in ComputerWorld today demands a response, and on the other hand as the story is an attempt to draw traffic and readers, I’m helping by responding. But, so many of you have asked me to respond that I feel I have no choice but to do so. So …
ComputerWorld used to be a major force in IT journalism, so you can’t really blame them for having to resort to sensationalism so as to try to attract traffic to their site. But, Mary Brandel’s pathetic piece entitled “The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills” sinks to new lows.
But before I go any further, who is Mary Brandel, and what background makes her the authority on the subject of technology trends? A quick search through ComputerWorld archives shows such hard-hitting technically in-depth stories as “How To Survive A Bad Boss”, “Budgetary Black Holes”, “Five Ways To Defeat blog trolls and cyberstalkers”, “Seven Essential Ingredients for Leadership”, as well as stories on outsourcing, CIO profiles, and management advice. In other words, nothing overly technical at all. In fact, despite multiple searches in all the obvious locations, I could find no evidence that Mary actually has real technology experience, other than talking about it of course. So, as you read her story, keep that context in mind, a story is only as legitimate as the person writing it.
Now on to her pearls of wisdom. Mary lists ten technologies that she considers dead or dying. Among them she includes Cobol, Non-relational DBMS, cc:Mail, CNEs, OS/2, and … ColdFusion. Yep, she actually ranked ColdFusion right there with OS/2 and PowerBuilder and non IP networks. It makes you wonder what science and research drove this list. Comparing products and technologies that have not been updated in over a decade to one being updated as we speak?
Although, and this should be telling to you, she probably does not know that ColdFusion 8 is due out this year. Why? Because we are conducting press briefings now, and are talking to all sorts of publications and media. ComputerWorld, however, has refused our invitations! It seems that they’d rather spew sensationalism then actually invest time into researching stories.
But, for a real laugh, look at her reasoning: “[ColdFusion] has since been superseded by other development platforms, including Microsoft Corp.’s Active Server Pages and .Net, as well as Java, Ruby on Rails, Python, PHP and other open-source languages”.
Specific languages aside, did she not do any homework at all? Does she actually know what these technologies are and are not? Java? Is she even aware of the ColdFusion Java relationship?
And as for her comments about ColdFusion developers not being paid as much, and implying they are a dying breed and not in demand, has she even bothered to talk to any? Or to drop by events like MAX and CFUnited and cf:Objective? Judging by the reaction from the ColdFusion community, many are insulted by her insinuation, ramblings not based on fact and reason, and they have every right to be so.
Mary, considering your lack of experience and inability to conduct research, I’ll forgive you this demonstration of irresponsible journalism. But only on condition that you take the time to learn a bit more about the product and technology you so easily dismiss. The invitation to brief (or educate) you on ColdFusion and the upcoming ColdFusion 8 still stands. Which means you have to decide what’s more important to you, journalistic integrity, or doing whatever it takes to be read. The ball is in your court.