in Personal

Technology: Tools or Religion?

I was just browsing through various blogs on here and I ran across an entry Mark made where we mentioned being “branded” a Microsoft drone basically. ( Well this got me thinking about the issue and now I just have to say something about it.

My school is the same way. I’m pretty much in the same position as Mark since I tend to use Microsoft products most of the time. What bothers me about the “holy wars” between those that are Microsoft lovers / supporters and those that swear allegiance to the penguin is that both sides usually loose site of what is really important…

Programming languages, IDEs, OSes, etc. are not religions. You aren’t required to choose one and make your stand. You should be swearing loyalty to a technology whether you are a computer science person, MIS, or someone just interested in tech.

Technology, for example ASP.NET and PHP are both just tools. If you understand that, then you will have the key to succeed in any project you undertake and will be able to make an informed decision when a situation requiring one arises. As an example….

I work for a department here at the university where we run Windows-based servers and clients along with Exchange and MS Office. We use those tools because they allow us and our users to get what they need done. If linux was just as productive, then it would have been a harder decision, but that wasn’t the case at that point in time (and still isn’t). However, we recently decided to start filtering spam from our e-mail system because of the huge amount we were getting relative to the good mail. When 75% of our users were having their inboxes filled with tons upon tons of junk mail, we knew something had to be done. Case in point, we evaluated numerous Windows-based solutions including plug-ins for Exchange. In the end, we decided to go with Linux and a MimeDefang / SpamAssassin combo. That combination was just perfect for us because it was low cost, stable, secure, and best of all, it just worked. That (at least in my opinion) is what should be done to solve any technological problem: evaluate ALL options regardless of whether it’s open source etc. and then make the choice on which tool can best get the job done.

I just get tired of hearing people claim how their technology is supreme over all other technologies in all cases. Sure, PHP is wonderful if I want a dynamic website that lends itself to lots of self contained pages and needs to run with a relatively low memory footprint. But if you’re looking to do a robust SOAP-compliant web service that interfaces with your existing code, then you had better look at ASP.NET (w/ C#) because you’ll save yourself tons of time and hopefully money.