Modern vs. Classical Developers
by Brian Dunning
article | del.icio.us
has been observed that there are generally two types of FileMaker
Pro developers, the Moderns and the Classicals. Youve seen
both, wandering around the conferences, some with the latest G3
PowerBooks, and some with suitcase-sized 1983 Compaqs. Modern
developers take advantage of every newfangled thing that comes
down the pipe, be it hardware, software, firmware, flexware, grayware,
or any other type of yuppieware the wordsmiths can invent. Classical
developers are more reserved, preferring to stick to the tried
& true, and avoiding anything perceived as glitzy and unnecessary.
Example: the modern developer uses Status(CurrentDate), and the
classical developer uses the Today function.
Its neither right nor wrong to be modern or classical.
Most of us lean pretty heavily toward one end of the spectrum
or the other. If you are unsure where you score in this arena,
read on and see how many of the following apply to you.
The modern developer joined the FileMaker Solutions Alliance
primarily for access to the newest betas, and does all of his
development in a version of FileMaker Pro that mortals have not
yet theorized about. The classical developer does everything in
2.1, because some clients out there may still be using it, and
it would be unwise to deliver a solution that they may not be
able to use. By the same token, the modern developer aggressively
lobbies his clientele to purchase not only the newest version,
but the upgrade subscription as well; so they will always be able
to use his files. The classical developer cautions his clients
on the financial peril of spending large sums on new software
when 2.1 is very stable and reliable.
The modern developer installs every known FileMaker plug-in.
Thus his FileMaker RAM partition is set at 100MB, and he relies
heavily on Norton CrashGuard. The classical developer shuns all
plug-ins, and such modern "conveniences" as ScriptMaker, since
developers should learn to stand on their own two feet, and should
produce files that anyone can use whether they own plug-ins or
The modern developer has a four-button trackball for each hand,
and a little sensor that reads the position of his eyeball, and
clicks when he blinks. The classical developer uses control-I,
J, K, and M to move his cursor around, and believes that the mouse
was invented by Satan to make people lazy.
The modern developer uses only Mac OS X and Windows 2000. The
classical developer uses System 4 and Windows 3.1, only because
he can find no older (meaning "more reliable") systems which will
support FileMaker 2.1.
The modern developers accountant has found a way for him
to replace his equipment every six months, and show a huge tax
benefit for doing so. The classical developer has not bought anything
new for eight years, reasoning that if you dont spend the
money in the first place, you cant possibly come out behind.
However he can be spotted at the occasional flea market, looking
for bargains on IBM eight-inch floppy drives.
The modern developer has a gigabit Ethernet switch in his office,
with expensive cabling the size of a garden hose, a dedicated
G4 running Etherpeek, and all machines on TCP/IP. The classical
developer prefers to swap files on floppy disks "since its
faster," and when pressured into using a network, digs in a box
in his closet and comes up with an obscure Novell client which
he then runs in SoftPC on a Mac SE connected to his server (a
PC/XT) with a serial cable he wired himself.
The modern developer has gone to great lengths to research the
Internet connections available in his area, and has taken care
to live in an area already served by either cable modems or ADSL.
He negotiates a cheap price by threatening to switch to a T1,
owns his own router, hosts his own domain name, and has full-duplex
1.5 megabit Internet on every computer in his home office. The
classical developer has a CompuServe account which he accesses
via a 2400-baud modem, since "despite what they tell you, 2400
baud is the real maximum that data can be transferred over phone
lines," and his email address is 77356.35356.3674:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The modern developer has an uninterruptible power supply the
size of a refrigerator and a gas-powered generator on automatic
standby. The classical developer has a power strip that he bought
at the drug store for $6.99.
The modern developer produces software which incorporates all
the latest tips and tricks of a flashy GUI. Since graphically
complex layouts in FileMaker can be network intensive, the classical
developer shuns a GUI completely, in order to maximize network
performance. He figures that people should "learn FileMaker" anyway,
and not be restricted to the limitations of a rigid GUI.
The modern developer fills every available RAM slot with the
largest available DIMM card, and stacks a memory management utility
on top of it, giving access to gigabytes of RAM. The classical
developer keeps everything in 128K, on the principle that developers
should write tight code. He longs for the good old days when there
was a sticker on his space bar that said "48K."
The modern developer has three 21-inch flat panel displays, set
at 1600x1200 resolution, each with a 3D graphics accelerator with
32MB of VRAM. The classical developer insists on his built-in
9-inch screen, guaranteeing that his customers will not have to
scroll around to view his layouts in their full splendor. His
layouts may be the size of postage stamps up in the corner of
their screen, but at least they wont have to scroll to see
The modern developer has a large format color laser printer which
sounds like a chainsaw when it spews out pages faster than sawdust
from a wood chipper. The classical developer is perfectly happy
with his 9-pin dot matrix printer, re-inking his ribbon by hand
rather than replacing it.
No matter where you rank between these two, keep an eye out at
the next conference and see how many of each type you can spot.
Be assured that someone is keeping their eye on you, winking knowingly
to their buddy, and saying "Yup, another one of those!"