Just one thing about language shootouts

Lately I’ve been reading Just one thing. This is not only an excellent and enjoyable book about investing money, but there are some essays which are beautiful written and interesting for software developers. There is an essay about biases of investors. All those biases apply to software developers when they talk about their tools and about which I’ve written before.

The most interesting essay is by James Montier and is called “Psychology matters”. He quotes the main areas of biases an investor shows as Self-deception, Heuristic simplification, Emotion/affect and Social. The emotion bias certainly applies to software developers and the heuristic simplification is apparent. There are no heuristics, facts or numbers in tools, processes, language and framework comparisons, just guts. And it doesn’t matter if you take the RUP/XP discussion, the writing/generating (MDA) discussion, the Java/Rails discussion, the Groovy/JRuby discussion, the text/graphics (UML) discussion, the Spring/Java EE, the action (WebWork)/component (Tapestry, Wicket)/continuations (RIFE, Seaside) discussion, the static (Java)/dynamic (Script) discussion, the open source and license discussion or one of the countless others going on right now about what is the next big thing.

Though the most important bias seems to be self-deception. Under self-deception he lists Overoptimism, Illusion of control, Illusion of knowledge, Overconfidence, Self-attribution bias, Confirmation bias, Hindsight bias, Cognitive dissonance and Conservatism bias.

And while he’s talking about investors, all those can be applied to language evangelists and their high priests. Overconfidence comes from people with few projects. Self-attribution is their way of attributing success to their skills and tools while it was plain luck. The best quote about tool evangelism in the essay is “Heads was skill, tails was bad luck.” And overoptimism is the one thing that describes software developers best while illusion of control plagues most managers of IT projects.

So next time you read about how successfull a tool or framework is, think about the biases the author has fallen for. Good luck.

First version of cintoo Messages 1.0 released

After some months where the source hibernated on my hard drive, I’ve packaged and shipped it at last. The first release of Messages is now available. Messages is a open source framework to make internationalization easier for Java applications. It supports locales for threads and bundles can be associated with different packages. This allows the usage of different bundles for different parts of the application like plugins, installer or logging. Bundles can be managed and associated with packages without any changes in the code. This makes bundle management and refactoring much easier than with other solutions.Messages supports global locales for client applications written in Swing or SWT and thread local ones for serverside web applications.

Cintoo Messages is Apache 2.0 licensed.


Rules for a successfull business

The rules for a sucessfull business are easy:

  • The customer is the most important thing in your business
  • The best business plan is to sell people the things they want
  • Your business is successfull if your earnings are higher than your spendings

Sounds easy, most startups forget all three of those rules.