1990: Programming languages

In 1990, I drew thirteen cartoons for the computing industry press. They were never published, so here they are from the Beholder archive. They have no particular artistic merit, but they’re mildly interesting from a nostalgically geeky point of view.

9. Object oriented languages

When I drew this cartoon, I still had an odd relationship with OO. I hadn’t used a mainstream OO language but I had sort of created my own interpretation of it in my third-year project which was a simulation language, which I won’t bore you with here except to say I had actually bumped into some of the benefits of OO in a very first-hand way. I did know of the existence of Modula, and C++ and Smalltalk, but never used them, and it wasn’t until I started writing Java later in 1999 that I got real experience of it. Certainly the term “actor” is nowhere near as ubiquitous as I must have thought it was at the time I drew this, since the feeble “Yoric++” gag seems very obscure now; maybe it was then, too. Looks like I even put an extra R in his name too. Oh well.

Anyway, to me the interesting thing about this cartoon is that even in 1990 I was suspicious about OO being automatically appropriate for problem-solving. That’s an opinion that has generally been emerging as programming has matured (for example, critiques like this or this).

I named these verbose cartoons “the Need To Know Guide to Programming Languages”. Note that this was nothing to do with Danny O’Brien & Dave Green’s Need to Know (NTK) newsletter, which did not come along for another seven years (and to which I enthusiastically subscribed).

You’re free to use the illustration for anything provided you attribute Beholder as the source (a CC BY 4.0 license).

See more vintage Beholder nostalgia.