First, Free the Developers

That day in Vegas, closing in on a decade ago — it changed my life.  It was at Cesar's Palace — or was it the Bellagio? — and I was at an event called The Server Side Symposium.  It's where I first heard of three  revolutionary tools: WebWork, Hibernate and The Spring Framework.

What was revolutionary about them?  Simple: WebWork let me develop MVC web apps with 1/4 the code of Struts, Hibernate let me forget about JDBC, and The Spring Framework helped me wire everything together — and showed me how I could do more, faster and definitely better with it than without it.

It was a watershed moment.  These products helped me forget about less important details and get on with the work at hand.

SpringOne has brought all of this back to me as a wave of memories this week.

As I watch Maven's "updating dependencies" for the 16th time, I remember how proud I was when I finally had a reliable stack of jars I could just build apps on top of, even if they were a few versions out of date.

As I listened to a developer at my lunch table rail against reliance on null return values, I remember talking to my development team about proper use of exceptions and the importance of static code analysis tools to find likely null pointer exceptions.

You get the idea.

It's not that Spring isn't great — it truly is.  And it keeps getting better.

It's that this model of development asks people to concentrate on stuff that …. well, stuff that doesn't matter much most of the time.

VMforce is interesting because it gives developers a path beyond this model, beyond thinking about stuff that doesn't matter.  At it's most basic, VMforce lets devs build apps and deploy them to a private scalable JVM and servlet container.  But it doesn't stop there.

What's great about VMforce apps is that they can then take advantage of our shared platform services, quickly and easily.  Database.  Unified search.  Automatic API availability.  Analytics.  Mobile deployment.  Collaboration.

Imagine a future where a secure API is no longer a feature that takes months or years to develop.  Visualize a project where global, internet safe search doesn't need to be spec'd in great detail and then carefully implemented.  Picture automatic mobile deployment.  See apps brought to life with out of the box collaboration capability.

Six million Java developers. 

What happens when they free up their metal cycles from all this … stuff, that they have to spend time and energy thinking on today? 

I can't wait to find out.

Published
October 21, 2010
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First, Free the Developers