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I'm not terribly old: 35. Been doing web development as a career since 1999.

More relevant, is my experience. I didn't come in when Java came out. I started (1997-1998) with some high-level dynamic web languages: ASP classic, ColdFusion (To this day, I still do CF - I'm a CF user group manager and I speak at CF conferences). Building HTML and JavaScript since 1996 (GeoCities, HotDog, and HomeSite). Nerded around with programming 1995-1997 in high school (TI Basic, Pascal, and Qbasic) In the days when I started web development, a lot of folks were still monkeying around with Perl and flatfiles. I can't really speak to early days of Java: until 2000, didn't really use it. ColdFusion 6 went from C++ to Java, at which point CF devs ran on the JVM and could target it.

From the beginning I was a consumer of RDBMSes. Started with Access and moved on to SQL Server. There wasn't a need to know the full DB, only the pieces you needed for CRUD. Perhaps for newbs that has changed, and they have to learn the full SQL administrative experience. Personally I doubt that. Do some db migrations in Rails: you don't even need to know what SQL engine you're running on. (A good thing, IMO, but still means a lesser body of knowledge)

Good point that a lot of products try so hard to be the "new sexy" that they suggest an inaccurate comparison, or at best, implement a subset of what they're trying to replace.

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