What to choose: Boring or Exciting?

Dan McKinley writes:

What counts as boring? That’s a little tricky. “Boring” should not be conflated with “bad.” There is technology out there that is both boring and bad [2]. You should not use any of that. But there are many choices of technology that are boring and good, or at least good enough. MySQL is boring. Postgres is boring. PHP is boring. Python is boring. Memcached is boring. Squid is boring. Cron is boring.The nice thing about boringness (so constrained) is that the capabilities of these things are well understood. But more importantly, their failure modes are well understood.

Both sets are typically non-empty, even for tech that’s existed for decades. But for shiny new technology the magnitude of unknown unknowns is significantly larger, and this is important.

A counterpoint maintenance.

Lucjan Suski writes:

Choosing Boring Technology can lead to slowing down innovation. It started recently — in 2015. It may be hard to notice because it’s fresh, but having similar movement going popular 20 years earlier could be disastrous. Many valuable languages and technologies (Ruby, .NET, Rust, to name a few) would have a really hard time becoming popular. Language or technology, no matter how good it is, cannot thrive without adoption and community. Especially early on in its life. Choose Boring Technology manifesto stands in opposition to early adoption and may slow down innovation.

Both sides have a valid point. The only thing that determines the “utilisation” in an enterprise environment is the costs involved in “project maintainence” which shouldn’t escalate beyond what the “auditors” would start objecting. No one has a blank cheque like Google (or any of the big tech company) but I don’t remain wolly eyed to the ideas of hype (and the AI driving cars) either. That’s not innovation- it is only an incremental showcase of a “technology demonstrator”.

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