When I was a systems engineer at IBM, our corporate executive consultant to the apparel industry used to give management seminars to corporate CEOs around the world. As he discussed future economic and computer directions and corporate strategy, hed refer to a chart that showed hardware performance increasing dramatically over time, but the line for programmer productivity staying flat.
That chart was presented twenty-five years ago, but its still valid. Today, computer hardware is thousands of times more powerful than it was back then, but programmers today are only marginally better than they used to beunless they use productivity tools. The programmers brain today is essentially what it was twenty-five years ago, and no doubt it will be the same twenty-five years from now. It is the power of the computer itselfwhich allows techniques like prototyping programs and the use of powerful software productivity toolsthat makes the programmer who uses these techniques and tools so much smarter than his peers and his predecessors.
No programmer is talented enough to spurn the productivity tools of his trade. I know that I am not, even though Im a top-level consulting programmer. Indeed, I probably need the help of productivity tools even more acutely than a journeyman programmer does, since Im the one whos called in at crisis timelike when a companys warehouse system is threatening to collapse. As a disaster-prevention programmer, Ive learned to embrace any productivity tool that can help me fix a system before it explodes.