Application development tools and technology have come a long way since the late 1970s, when I took my first job out of college in Hewlett-Packard Company’s IT (Information Technology) department. Of course, IT was not the term we used to refer to the discipline back then; our preferred acronym was EDP (Electronic Data Processing).

And maybe that difference between simply “processing” data and delivering “information” was reflected in our development tools. We worked on TTY terminals connected to 16-bit mini-computers over 2400 baud lines. We used simple line editors to make changes to our COBOL programs, and we kept our application data in non-relational hierarchical databases. Debugging was COBOL WRITE statements, and source code control ...

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