Cobol Inference

15 January 2011

Frequently I come across the claim that some technology will allow users to write their own software and not need programmers any more. When I hear this I like to remember that this was the aim COBOL - and we know how that worked out.

Like many developers, I'm very sceptical that signficant pieces of software will get written by non-programmers. I think there are specific skills and mindsets that make an effective programmer - the available to figure out how to precisely describe behavior and organize large bodies of such descriptions into a malleable form. That's not a skill everyone has - and it usually leads to a full-time job. As a result often when I have seen technology introduced for end-user programming, it tends to develop it's own community of programmers who are not truly business users.