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The proposition that "custom development tooling doesn't scale" is very much news to Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

All of them have custom programmable configuration stacks, meta languages for their environments, and custom application harness instructions.

So why don't those count as counterexamples? It seems like a just-so story.




Those companies are so high-profile, with so many people wanting to work for them, that they can do what they want, and the new hires will keep coming.

But in an obscure company, especially one that's not very well funded, it may make sense to use a blub language so the company can attract programmers that it can afford. Of course, using a less powerful language will limit the productivity of those programmers. But having two or three moderately productive programmers is probably better than being dependent on one bipolar [1] programmer.

[1]: http://www.marktarver.com/bipolar.html


... My experience with those companies, and I've been employed by more than one: the decisions to make those special sauce systems predate their fame in every case.

So no, and I don't get why you're trying to now raft programming languages you don't like to a medical diagnosis.


Touché.

My reference for "bipolar" was an article written by someone who applied that term to programmers writing in a family of languages he does like. His description might even apply to me. I've never done any serious Lisp hacking, but I wrote large amounts of code in Python and Lua, which are closer to Lisp than they are to, say, C. In truth, the second paragraph in my earlier comment was me thinking out loud on why it might have been a mistake for me to use those languages in the context where I did. Maybe it didn't belong in a reply to your comment.


> of doing things at the last minute but still doing pretty well at them.

> Another feature about this guy is his low threshold of boredom. He'll pick up on a task and work frantically at it, accomplishing wonders in a short time and then get bored and drop it before its properly finished.

> But brilliance is not enough. You need application too, because the material is harder at university. So pretty soon our man is getting B+, then Bs and then Cs for his assignments. He experiences alternating feelings of failure cutting through his usual self assurance. He can still stay up to 5.00AM and hand in his assignment before the 9.00AM deadline, but what he hands in is not so great.

That linked article is literally just describing undiagnosed ADHD, which yes, can affect otherwise successful students (of which I was one). Usually it's a form of Primarily Inattentive ADHD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_deficit_hyperactivit... [1], which doesn't present as hyperactivity but instead as inner restlessness.

Teenagers with this variety of ADHD go undiagnosed at significantly higher rates than Hyperactive ADHD. Those with the hyperactive variety are easily noticed due to their tendencies to run around rooms, act out, jump out of their seats at inappropriate times, and so on. But the Inattentive kids suffer due to the existence of just this very stereotype -- the smart but bored kid. For some reason, with ADHD-H we're able to say, "This kid isn't following the norms in school because of a cognitive deficit," but when it comes to ADHD-PI people think "This kid isn't following the norms in school because he's just so over it, man."

Meanwhile, these kids are often tortured by their inability to work as hard and as consistently as they want to. Everyone in my life just assumed for me that I was "so smart that I was just bored in school, no challenge!", but meanwhile I was depressed from about the age of 10 by my complete inability to succeed in school to the extent I wanted to. I loved school, and was depressed by my inability to pay attention and work harder.

These students were able to succeed in high school because the material is mostly accessible via some amount of common sense. I was able to ace a lot of objective (multiple choice, etc.) exams through nothing more than logical deduction. But in college, assignments require more discipline over time -- writing long research papers, motivating yourself to work on something over weeks -- which is when the failures start appearing more and more frequently. My GPA went from 4.0 in middle school to 3.7 in high school to 3.2 in college. 3.2 sounds fine to some, but it was the most depressed I've ever been because I felt my life's potential slipping through my fingers.

So rather than having professors write condescending articles over our "bipolar personality" I'd much prefer if we, as a society, could work to truly understand the challenges that these kids face; to look beyond the stereotypes and actually care about their wellbeing.

[1] I used to think ADHD was made up. Why? Because I couldn't understand what was different about kids with an ADHD diagnosis. I would read lists of ADHD symptoms and think, "But that's just normal life! I experience that stuff all day every day, and I don't have ADHD!" It took me until the age of 28, and until my wife was there to help me shake the cobwebs off of my denial, before I was able to have the realization that strongly relating with the ADHD symptoms meant that I had the disorder, not that ADHD was "just normal life."


Not sure how familiar you are with Google code, but ensuring a consistent, readable, uncreative coding style is kind of a big deal at Google.

Ask a Googler what it was like to get "readability", which is a process where you get certified as knowing how to produce code for a particular language up to company standards. You can also see how the value of consistent style influenced the design of the Go language, which is more resistant to metaprogramming than most similarly-popular languages.


> Not sure how familiar you are with Google code, but ensuring a consistent, readable, uncreative coding style is kind of a big deal at Google.

Yeah, I work there. And I'm aware of the lore. I'm also acutely aware of the fact that there are numerous configuration systems that are exquisitely crafted custom snowflakes.

> You can also see how the value of consistent style influenced the design of the Go language, which is more resistant to metaprogramming than most similarly-popular languages.

Yes I know, it is terrible and designed around the worst impulses of Google. I do not believe it solves a real problem, I believe it enables abusive hiring practices.


I agree that Google has many unique internal systems for job management, workflow management, authorization, CI/CD, etc., that have unique configuration and unique behavior that new employees will need to learn. As an SRE you probably spend a lot of time in that world.

Seems like the linked article was more on the topic of programming languages, though, not configuration management. I don't think a non-Googler would have any trouble reading and understanding Google internal code in a programming language they're familiar with.

Exceptions might be pre-TypeScript JS codebases using the closure compiler annotations, old ndb Python code if there's any of that left, or Java engineers who haven't used dependency injection before.




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