My cube is in the middle of a number of mainframe developers and I've gotten to know them. Today, one of them came up to me and asked me about the suitability of using Perl vs. Java or VB for a very small online (~10 pages)interface to some of their DB2 tables. Initially, they were looking at doing just custom file formats, but they eventually wanted to be able to handle XLS files. Their due date is about six months away and they wanted to make sure that this was feasible in that timeframe.

My first reaction was "Uhh ... that'll take me three weeks, broken down as follows: 1 day for coding, the rest for meetings to explain why I only need 1 day for coding."

Then, I thought about it some more. These programmers average 10+ years in the business. They're not stupid. What are they not getting that I understand? (Or, the other way round, but I know I can meet my estimates.)

It hit me - mainframe development is mostly batch processing. Server development is mostly interactive processing. That's a major paradigm shift! I had to explain MVC to every one of them that I talked to.

Not to mention that 90% of every Perl application is already written. They were talking about having to hand-roll an Excel parser in Java or VB or whatever solution they were going to use. Spreadsheet::ParseExcel works quite nicely, thank you very much.

It was just interesting to see how the different cultures can co-exist, yet not understand each other.

We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

Please remember that I'm crufty and crochety. All opinions are purely mine and all code is untested, unless otherwise specified.