Ten Development Environments That Won’t Go Away

If you code for a living, you know the world’s become very much about adapting or dying. But: The truth is that some development technologies just don’t die. In fact, TechRepublic’s Justin James has come up with a list of ten, along with his interesting commentary.

  1. COBOL: “There are millions of lines of COBOL code out there powering banks and insurance companies and other mission-critical systems that handle massive amounts of data. Many of these systems will be in services for decades if not centuries without replacement.”
  2. VBA: “A lot of systems that use VBA, VBScript, or VB6 (all related technologies) are outdated. But VBA is still the macro language for Microsoft Office, and plenty of people depend upon it to do their jobs.”
  3. .NET WinForms: “The fast rise of .NET meant that tons of WinForms applications were built — and they will be maintained for a long time, just like the VB6 applications out there.”
  4. Flash: “While Flash still is everywhere, HTML5 threatens to push it out of its spot for rich Web development. Even so, there will be existing Flash work out there for ages, and it will be maintained and extended.”
  5. C: “Until fairly recently, C was enjoying a graceful, slow drift away from actual application development and being relegated to the roles of hardware driver and operating system development. And then the iPhone (and later, iPad) were released, causing a massive surge in use of Objective-C, which is a superset of C.”
  6. FORTRAN: “If languages were people, FORTRAN would be regarded as COBOL’s fuddy-duddy spinster aunt.”
  7. SQL: “SQL is a strange case. On the one hand, databases that use SQL are still all over the place, and SQL is often the only way to work with them. So it is no surprise that the SQL language itself is out there in spades. What is a surprise is how many developers are still writing a lot of SQL code.”
  8. ASP.NET WebForms: “Like WinForms, the WebForms’ similarities to previous systems led to rapid adoption, so WebForms Web applications will be around for quite some time.”
  9. Java: “Java is nowhere near being close to a decline. It is still a strong, vibrant ecosystem. But if and when the day comes that people start referring to it as “legacy,” it still will have many, many years left.”
  10. HTML: After 20 years, “It is hard to imagine a computing world without HTML (or one of its descendants) in the future.”

Note that this list is a mix of big iron (COBOL), foundational Web (HTML), and mobile (C and company) technologies. Developers most interested in going back to the future would be wise to focus on the C family and continue their training there. As James notes, Objective-C is riding the fast track to tomorrow, hand in hand with Apple.

How many are on your resume, and how many more can you think of? Let me know in the comments below.

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One Response to “Ten Development Environments That Won’t Go Away”

  1. I disagree that ForTran is a fuddy-duddy spinster.

    A few of the above are on my resume, and there are others on my resume not on the list.

    Here are a few other technologies that had their Andy Warhol 15 minutes but I suspect are still out there in use, even if now an improved version.





    BASIC (not VB, simple procedural BASIC)

    DiBOL/DBL and Synergy (variations on a theme)