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The 19 generations of computer programmers

Here is our guide to some of the more dominant tech generations in computer history, as embodied by the programmers who gave them life

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JavaScript programmers (first generation)

The first group of JavaScript programmers weren't really programmers but Web designers who needed their page to do a bit more. Many just wanted to check the input to make sure it was legit, but an annoying few ushered in the unending era of garish animations.

Other language of choice: HTML

Special skill: Remembering to put the function between script tags

Social media strategy: Going to a friend's GeoCities page

Other career choice: Chain restaurant manager

Rhetorical tic: "It works on IE 5.5 but not 6.0 yet."

Clothing: Parachute pants

Car: Ford Taurus

Song: Beastie Boys' "So What'cha Want"

Favourite artifact: Netscape Share Certificate

Ruby on Rails programmers

It takes all of 10 minutes to wrap a nice website around MySQL, then years to fiddle with it. The Ruby language offers a clean, low-punctuation syntax, while the Rails framework makes it easy to type the smallest files around. It's almost as if it were designed by carpal-tunnel sufferers.

Other language of choice: SQL

Special skill: Getting your stack to run on JRuby

Social media strategy: Writing a personal version of Facebook in 20 lines of code

Other career choice: Molecular gastronomist

Clothing: Plaid shirt and jeans

Rhetorical tic: "You just need a few tables and you're done."

Car: Minivan

Song: "The Rails Song"

Favourite artifact: 37 Signals T-shirt

Objective-C programmers (second generation)

The second generation of Objective-C lovers appeared during the app gold rush after Apple opened up the iPhone to apps written by outsiders. Suddenly a language slowly dying was reborn.

Other language of choice: JavaScript

Special skill: Figuring out how to make the layout manager work

Social media strategy: Posts pictures to Instagram and Hipstamatic but never uses words

Other career choice: Mortgage foreclosure processor

Clothing: Hoodie

Rhetorical tic: "This will sell millions."

Car: BMW

Song: Feist's "1234" or anything else chosen for an Apple commercial

Favourite artifact: iPod with a wheel


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