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The Power of Boring: Why Tried-and-True Technology Deserves Your Attention
It's easy to be mesmerized by the latest technology. As companies race to innovate and disrupt, they often tout new platforms, frameworks, or tools that promise revolutionary improvements.
In our rapidly evolving digital era, it's easy to be mesmerized by the latest technology. As companies race to innovate and disrupt, they often tout new platforms, frameworks, or tools that promise revolutionary improvements. However, amidst this constant churn, there is a compelling case to be made for the humble, tried-and-true technologies that don't often make headlines. In this post, we will explore the understated value of 'boring' technology and why it deserves your attention.
Understanding 'Boring' Technology
To be clear, 'boring' in this context is not a pejorative term. Instead, it refers to technology that is mature, well-understood, and maybe even a little mundane compared to its flashier, novel counterparts. Boring technology includes systems, tools, and platforms that have been around for years or even decades. Examples might include SQL databases, Linux servers, or the venerable HTML for web development.
The Power of Predictability
Boring technology has a track record. Over time, these technologies have been tested, vetted, and optimized, offering a level of stability that newer technologies simply can't match. This history provides a depth of understanding about their capabilities, their strengths, their weaknesses, and perhaps most importantly, how and when they fail.
Take SQL databases, for example. Despite the influx of NoSQL databases offering features like horizontal scaling and schema-less design, SQL remains a mainstay for many businesses. Why? Because we understand SQL databases. They've been stretched, squeezed, and stressed in every possible way, revealing their failure points and allowing for the creation of robust mitigation strategies.
With new technology comes new risks. New platforms have to endure real-world trials and tribulations to reveal their true colors, including their unexpected failure modes. When a system crashes at 2 a.m., a well-understood technology provides the comfort of knowing what went wrong and how to fix it. With newer technologies, the troubleshooting process may be more like exploring uncharted territory, which can lead to prolonged downtime, frustrated customers, and lost revenue.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Boring technology often benefits from a wealth of existing knowledge and resources. There are books, tutorials, online forums, and experts who've spent their careers understanding these technologies. The resulting community can be an invaluable asset, offering solutions to common problems and advice based on years, sometimes decades, of experience.
Sustainability Over Hype
The technology sector often becomes preoccupied with the 'new'. However, chasing the latest trends can lead to a cycle of constant learning and implementation without gaining the depth of understanding needed for mastery. Boring technology, by contrast, allows you to build on a solid, proven foundation.
While it's essential to keep an eye on emerging technologies, it's equally important to recognize the value of boring technology. Boring can be beautiful when it offers predictability, mitigates risk, and stands on a bedrock of community support and knowledge. As you navigate the complex landscape of technology choices, remember to weigh the shiny appeal of the new against the proven reliability of the tried-and-true.