Everything old is new again…

In one of the comments to the “Introducing LINQ” entry that I wrote, Unilynx wrote:

Sounds like what we’ve been doing for five years already 🙂

This was a comment that came up several times at the PDC from various sources: “What’s so revolutionary about this stuff? We’ve been doing this kind of thing for years!” On the one hand, what’s unique about LINQ is how it’s built, it’s openness and flexibility, and it’s unification of data querying across domains. But on the other hand, yeah, let’s be honest: as Newton would say, if we’re seeing further, it’s only because we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. My standard response to this line of thought is: there are really only 15 good ideas in computer science and all of them were discovered thirty years ago or more. What happens is that the programming world just rediscovers them over and over and over again, each time prentending like the ideas are brand new.

Erik Meijer had a good comment in the languages panel that if you want to know what the next big thing in programming is going to be, all you have to do is look at what was hot twenty years ago. Because that tends to be the length of time it takes for the wheel to turn a full crank…

3 thoughts on “Everything old is new again…”

  1. Talking about taking 20 years for things to come to fruition, I was surprised that nothing was mentioned at the PDC with reference to concurrency. Have the ideas moved out of research yet?

  2. Eric Meijer’s comment isn’t new either 🙂 In fact, CAR Hoare predicted it when he famously said that Algol 60 was not only an improvement on its predecessors but also on nearly all its successors.

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