Buzz means confusion, especially in Buzzwords.

 

 

 

Over the course of approximately ten years I've been in the business of information technology I still get annoyed by buzzwords. Technology evolves yearly and the buzzwords follow the progress. Every year there's a bunch of terms that start meaning good and evolve into a notion of silver bullets that never really solve the problems they're supposed to and cause disappointment and resent. However upon maturing they end up being useful tools in the face of software development when used by responsible professionals. 

 

This year I've seen the term AI being thrown around loosely when actually talking about machine learning algorithms. It is interesting to hear people talk about the evolution of AI but we're still in a phase where most of the AI or AIs are simple algorithms that have one job. The only thing I'm really scared about AI is that the first algorithm to grow sentient will be the one developed by EA Sports with the primary goal of always winning.

 

The other one from the recent year has been PWA being pounded onto peoples brains by Google. PWAs are the same web apps people have been writing to be used with browsers for years. It's really nothing new in terms of building an app. You can fake a web application to feel like a native app in a mobile device but PWAs should not replace the look and feel of a native app if there is a reason to build a native app.

 

There is new technology like service workers and some requirements of conventions involved in building a PWA. Service workers are actually what should be talked about, PWAs as "the next big thing to get into" not so much. We should talk about designing your websites, web applications and web based software with the conventions that Google is pushing with their checklist of what's a PWA but we shouldn't talk about it like it's "The next web 2.0" or "web 5.0" or anything with .0. It's really making me hate the word web in the IT context. Home spiders I'm friends with, and their webs. 

You should always understand one abstraction level below of what goes into your buzzword to be able to wield it intelligibly.

I listened to Scott Hanselman talk to Thorsten Ball about writing an interpreter and though I didn't get the original citation Thorsten mentioned hearing somewhere that you should always understand one abstraction level below the one you're writing code with. That goes with all technology. You should always understand one abstraction level below of what goes into your buzzword to be able to wield it intelligibly.

 

If you don't know what's behind the three letter acronym (TLA) don't go selling it around. Understand what the actuall progress step is before flaunting it around. And when you do understand it talk about the things that actually make it special instead of trying to argue that we have the latest bells and whistles and make technological progress in to a bunch of buzzwords that you nor the customer do not understand. Alcohol and technology are analoguous in a sense. Both give you a light buzz but make you confused when used irresponsibly. Don't use either of them irresponsibly, understand them because there's always the more knowledgeable that have to clean up the mess you made if you disregard the advice. 

 

Ilari Tuominen

Software Developer at Barona Technologies