Like the reference to Rails—so easy and at the same time so inaccessible.
In the earlier days without powerful frameworks I was really developing: figuring out which pattern/algorithm did the best job. Nowadays when working with frameworks I feel dumber and dumber—before thinking myself I just google API calls and put them together. I am not trying anymore because I don't know where to start and everything is already solved on Github. This magic feels sometimes so meta and boring because I am more into consuming specs, tutorials, screencasts just gluing things together instead of real programming.
Just diving into JS and Node.JS to get this "go-kart" feeling back. But I guess the more magic involved the faster the development and Meteor admittedly looks revolutionary.
It's like the industrial revolution.
Long ago, things (like furniture) used to be made by craftsmen. They had to choose the materials, they had to get a picture of what the final product should look like. They used to work by hand, using only simple tools. It was hard. To become a skilled craftsman you had to be an apprentice for several years and learn a lot from your master.
Then came factories. Factories were super-effective, they produced a lot of things fast, and cheap too, and the level of skill required from a factory worker was in no way comparable to the skill of a proper craftsman.
I notice the same tendency in software development today - we, the software developers, are more similar to factory workers mindlessly sticking together parts than "ninjas" or "rockstars". Of course, the process of software development today is not entirely like a factory, but I sense it's moving towards there. And if it is, programmers will become something cheap and fungible. Imagine hiring illegal immigrants to write an iPhone app :)
You're only seeing a part of the development task. Yes, the knowledge requirements for doing a task X (let's say a given CRUD app) are declining. But:
- How do you guarantee that all those pieces you just glued together will work with high availability? That they'll feel easy to use and consistent if exposed to the end user, or easy to maintain (future developers) and operate? Quite some work is often needed to have all that.
- User expectations are getting higher. You could get away with a certain quality and usability of software in 2005 that you couldn't today. Had a desktop software in 2000? In 2006 it was a desktop software and a website, now it is a web app, an iphone app, an android app...
- What you are describing is putting together a solution. Might make sense in many end user scenarios, web apps, etc. For things like automotive and other, low level programming is still needed - though abstraction is also slowly making its way in there also.