Richard Bucker

Y2K and DLLs

Posted at — Apr 9, 2015

What do Y2K and DLLs have in common?Y2K was the biggest load of nothing to happen in modern history. Everyone went running around expecting the bottom to fall off of everything from the wrist watch to the power grid. But it never happened. (typically because because smart programmers trimmed the two digit century from their internal date formats.)A manager of mine, said of Y2K, that he received a 10K bonus for saving some number of bytes for compressing the century from all date formats and now he was getting a similar bonus for putting it back in.DLLs refer to dynamic link libraries. These are libraries or binary files that are used and shared between applications. You might have multiple programs that share a library. These were invented or made popular around the time of early Windows as Microsoft was evolving from DOS com and manageable exe files. Windows had so much bloat and the disk drives at the time were so small that this was the only way to keep things manageable. Today DLLs are almost obsolete as evidenced by languages like Go which offers a statically linked option.One of the biggest challenges for DLLs is that they may be versioned meaning that there are compatibility issues as they evolve and it’s up to the installers and package managers to keep things organized and running.What I’m pointing out is that while the decisions that led up to Y2K and DLLs were avoidable and in the end cost many millions in consulting fees, development costs, project overruns. DLLs created a number of challenges for the Windows installers and lots of compatibility issues over time.What is it that you are doing right now, what decisions are you making that has the potential to be on scale with these? ¬†Well, stop it!