New world developers are lazy

Xee comments, [via Daring Fireball]: "Earlier, I tried to get a hold of the latest specs for the PSD file format. To do this, I had to apply to [Adobe] for permission to apply to them to have them consider sending me this sacred tome. This would have involved faxing them a copy of some document or other, probably signed in blood. I can only imagine that they make this process so difficult because they are intensely ashamed of having created this abomination. I was naturally not gullible enough to go through with this procedure, but if I had done so, I would have printed out every single page of the spec, and set them all on fire. Were it within my power, I would gather every single copy of those specs, and launch them on a spaceship directly into the sun." - I know the old formats can be tough to deal with, try cracking Visio's, it's very complex. This sounds like a case of someone coming into development from our very open gigabytes of ram and clear text file formats. I can't be sure of course, but that's how it sounds. Hey, there once was a time when performance was critical. Try doing everything you had to do in the 640k-1MB range. Heck, iPhone applications are bigger than that today! So at that time binary was king, set a bit here a bit there, be as efficient as possible.

I was just talking with a couple of folks at work about this yesterday. In software, like fashion in some ways, our trends run in circles. Does anyone remember Windows .INI files? They were clear text files divided by sections, each section could have one to many name/value pairs so you could find things by section and keyword. If you needed an array you could have a name/value pair point at a section that was the array. Pretty simple format, reminds me of JSON. Then the registry came into play. Similar idea, a bit richer, much harder to deal with as a user, not easily moved like a text file, but it became the de-facto standard for saving user and application settings. Then XML became all the rage. Now we're back to clear text, but it's not quite as friendly to parse, but it's great for moving data around in a standard way. Applications started using it for user settings and for their native file format? That seems a bit weird to me, but ok, folks seem to like it. Now JSON is becoming popular, and as I said above, it reminds me of our old .INI files. We seem to have come full circle in some ways. Before you know it a new kid will discover the virtues of binary file formats and we'll start the cycle all over again.


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