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I was working on a password recovery function in our applica...

Warren Hinchliffe

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I was working on a password recovery function in our application and coded a FREEFORM into MODIFY, and it occurred to me that some of us old programmers may be the last custodians of some of the, well to paraphrase TOTO, old forgotten words or ancient memories from coding days gone by.

Who uses MODIFY, apart from the quick 4 or 5 liner. Anyone built CTRFORMs in MODIFY, I remember they used to get hundreds of lines long.

What about LET and the amazing things it can do.

The old function calls that we dont use anymore.

I feel like even some of the simple things like multiverb requests seem to be a thing of the past.

What will happen to the knowledge, the techniques, when we olde time programmers are gone

Is it all getting too simple with point and click

Are the older programmers slowly becoming redundant

I hear comments of why isnt like the way Microsoft does it. Are we just followers of influencers or can we create new and innovative content

I personally think the older programmers have different thought processes and can and do think out of the box but get shot down quickly for trying something new.

But is this just my perspective.

I wonder if I was viewed the same way when I started, its been almost 37 years with FOCUS then WebFOCUS.

Apologies for the brain dump, hope everyone has a great day.

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Agree with you too.

Now it is Power Users that, most of the time, have no idea of what is programming.

Point & click have open the possibility to others to do stuff that was reserved to programmers.

But it will never, IMHO, replace programmers (just to create these GUI it nedds programmers ).

However, since programmers cost a lot to a company, from a company financial POV, it is better to have few power users than one programmers for the same price.

Also, to be able to use GUI at their full potential, it must have data analyst, dba, or someone with at least some other capabilities that have prepare the data and the metadata.

Because it is not true that everyone can match, join and understand complex DW, ERP, data structure.

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100% agree with you Waz. Been coding the FOCUS language since 1985 and I still can do things much faster than anyone using the GUI. My style sheet code is generally 15 to 20 lines, precise and much easier to maintain that anything generated by the GUI. I honestly dont see how anyone can do any real programming with the GUI.

The one thing that new programmers dont have that I had was the ability to go to the TOP GUN class. Best money I ever spent on training.

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I wrote a lengthy response at first, but realized I mostly am talking to myself.

Heres the plan - we write a graduate class on the history of FOCUS. Only PhDs would be interested in this old archeological dig of the way we used to get things done with a smaller toolset.

Perhaps we can get published and end up being visiting professors with honorary Doctorates

I think we were so creative because we had so many limitations.

To quote Annie Leibovitz (famous photographer for those that dont recognize her name):


You will be at your best at your hardest time . Its when our back is against the wall and we dont have a lot of options that we MUST focus, think creatively, and breakthrough through new ideas.


And thats where so many of out old techniques came from. Our toolboxes were not that big. We didnt have tons of options and we managed. And when I say we - I mean us as programmer types, but also the people at IBI that figured out a way to give us the tools to do those seemingly impressive feats.

Just my 2 cents. Who wants to write A Brief History of FOCUS and go on the lecture tour

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And yes, RAMIS looked like


So the history I heard was about the FOCUS database. Now my memory is from way back so Ill just touch on it for those of us who know how the internals of the .foc databases worked.

Supposedly in the day of RAMIS, Gerry argued for a pointer that would point upward from a child segment back to the parent. The RAMIS version of a databsase did not include that pointer (just pointers that pointed to children and then pointers that point to the next segment).

That argument (probably among many others) got Gerry, Pete and Marty to decide they knew better about what should go on.

And from there, we got the alternate view of a .foc database:

TABLE FILE masterfile.fieldname

Then we could pick up a database right in the middle of it instead of entering from the top.

Or thats the way I remember that story.

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