Everything Good Must End

At one point it was scribed…

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

It’s true. Everything that begins must one day end, it is necessary for all progress.

It’s not always big things, though this is true. Lives end, marriages end (either by divorce or death), jobs end (either by retirement, resignation, firing, incapacitation…). Smaller things end also — processes for minor tasks are adjusted over time, and in a way the old process ends while the new process begins in its place.

I’m constantly reminded, and also constantly reminding others, especially when it comes to technology and its relationship with our business, nothing is forever. Decisions that were made even a year ago are eligible for review and adjustment – decisions that were made based on facts that were true five years ago are almost certainly not true today. Things we build now may, through no fault of our own, no longer be useful in a few short years time. If we are doing our jobs right, if we hold the right mindset, this won’t be a problem.

The nature of technology is constantly changing. While the core principles may remain for years at a time – e-mail comes to mind, it’s a technology that hasn’t significantly changed in the last thirty years – the surrounding architecture is constantly moving and developing. We added authentication, encryption, validation, scanning, HTML, and an array of other features. Websites have developed from simple text and hyperlinks to including images, animations, all kinds of client-side dynamic content. We’ve been through eras of Shockwave and Flash, through Java and Javascript, and finally moving into HTML 5.

It’s hard to let go when the time comes to move on, but letting go is what must be done. Very often we are able to take lessons from what’s been done before when building the next iteration, but that doesn’t always make the transition easier. CentOS 7 has changed significantly from CentOS 6, and it’s forcing habits to be broken. Systemd is a bit of a learning curve, though it’s one I embrace. Likewise, Windows Server 2012 was a change from Server 2008, and I expect the next iteration to do the same. 90% may be the same, but it’s always that 10% that throws you through a loop.

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