04 Apr

Why Isn’t the Obvious Making It Faster Into Development Platforms?

I’m in one of those periods when I pretend to be a web developer. Low productivity but great fun, and maybe with another few years I might become half good at it. Anyway I want to let my users choose how to sort some lists on one of my sites, so I’m passing along a variable from my ASP.NET program to a SQL stored procedure, expecting what looks like no-brainer syntax to fly. Well, it doesn’t. It’s reassuring that I’m not the only one to expect my intuitive way of doing things to work, only to run into a wall. SQL 2005 apparently won’t solve that specific issue (at least they say better native support for paging is coming), though it will be possible to write stored procedures in .Net languages.
I’m not sure whether that’s a restriction of how dynamic SQL is implemented by Microsoft in Transact-SQL or if all engines behave in the same way (I don’t know anything about PL/SQL syntax for instance), but it’s puzzling how often things that are supposed to make your life easier fail somewhere along the way ot at least only partly deliver.
This is a minor if not trivial example, but the more generic take-away from this post is that features that might look very straightforward to implement when you don’t know anything about programming, can actually require more work when you get to it. Even though tools and languages to create web sites are way better than just 5 years ago, it’s still my conviction that web project and product managers need to have a thick technical veneer to succeed, or they won’t effectively work with developers and designers.

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