Why is it that software branded "quick," "easy," and "smart" is always slow, hard, and dumb? That's just one of life's unanswerable questions.
Here's another: After over 50 years of evolution, why is programming STILL so hard, and how can we make it easier?
Certainly we believe Alpha Five V9 is the easiest way yet to build Alpha apps. But can it be even easier? Sure. Are we easier today than .Net, Java, Ruby, PHP, Perl, Python, FileMaker, Access, Base? We think so, and over a million developers at points around the globe think so, too.
Will future versions of Alpha Five be even easier? Hard to say, because each new version tackles new programming problems. For example, V9 (aka Platinum) tackled AJAX, among other things. Based on the response of developers and the media, I'd say we made AJAX development easier by an order of magnitude.
But we're not done. We're working to make working with AJAX even easier. Our efforts to raise the bar on developer productivity will always be challenged by the advent of new technologies. It's two steps forward, one step backwards in this business.
In the end, though, and overall, development in Alpha Five MUST be easier than competing products, or we have failed. That's been our design goal, our motivation, or Holy Grail since we first shipped Alpha in 1982. It's in our DNA.
So, what I can say with conviction is, we will always strive to make the day's programming problems easier to solve than any other product or platform.
Why am I thinking out loud about these eternal questions? Because I got this thoughtful joke (see below) in my e-mail today.
Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?
Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?
Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Why does someone believe you when you say there are 4 billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
Whose idea was it to put an "s" in the word "lisp?"
What is the speed of darkness?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?
If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?
Do married people live longer than single ones, or does it only seem longer?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
Did you ever stop and wonder ...
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these pink dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"
Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there ... I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta it's bum?"
Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?
Why is there a light in the 'fridge and not in the freezer?
Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their bum when they ask where the bathroom is?
Why does an obstetrician and gynaecologist leave the room when a patient gets undressed if they are going to look at them naked anyway?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?
If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
(Stop singing and read on!)
Do illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?