user narratives and communicating the benefit of D to the enterprise

Laeeth Isharc via Digitalmars-d digitalmars-d at
Mon Aug 31 16:58:50 PDT 2015

I collected together a few of these here:

Forgive my non-existent markup skills, and the text itself could 
do with some polishing.

Please do feel free to refine and extend these.

However I truly think that these can be very powerful in getting 
across the reasons why should someone should consider D.

We do a great job with sourcing, preparing, and cooking the 
steak.  Selling the sizzle is a work-in-progress, but if you 
think that D can benefit from broader corporate adoption, it's 
one area where a little effort can go a long way.  That doesn't 
mean telling a story that isn't true, but if someone is to 
appreciate why use D, then communicating the emotional sense of 
what is it like to switch must be a key part.

There were lots of helpful 'suggestions' on the reddit thread, 
and whilst you should listen to free advice (good criticism is 
hard to come by), it's often worth about what you pay for it 
because the people giving it, although perhaps well-intentioned, 
aren't familiar with your particular circumstances, and it's 
often these that matter.

As a newcomer to the forum and community, I am astonished by what 
people here have accomplished with very little funding.  
Obviously one talented programmer is better than a great deal of 
funding, but it seems like D might be at the point where a little 
might help.

For example, there are people on the forum who have expressed 
their willingness to take a big pay cut to work on their already 
well-loved libraries for a few months if they could have some 
contribution to bills (a large amount to pay personally, not 
large in the scheme of things), and on the other hand given the 
nature of the people drawn to D, perhaps documentation is also an 
area where some sponsorship could help.

It's easiest to raise that from corporate sources I would think, 
but to appeal to this market you need to speak their language 
somewhat.  At the moment, my uninformed impression is that we do 
a much better job of appealing to smart programmers than 
communicating the practical benefits to an enterprise.

The topic is on my mind personally as I am talking to a 2bn 
startup fund about helping them with some things.  I have written 
some tools in D - it would have taken me longer to build them 
another way, and they wouldn't be as I wish had I done that (so I 
am very grateful to the compiler and library developers here for 
the gift of their work).

Using D solves my main challenge, which is that when running 
money I will have very little time to grapple with things myself 
and yet on the other hand, there is benefit to having the 
technology and investment people be on the same page, approaching 
problems in a coherent manner (which is easier if you can just 
read the code), and there is benefit also to using native code, 
which will be fast.  No silos for me.

One may not need speed today (I am not a high-frequency guy), but 
given what's happening to data sets in relation to progress in 
the underlying hardware, I am pretty sure one will in a few 
years.  And even today, the difference between a minute and ten 
seconds is huge if one is trying to understand a phenomenon.  
It's easy to say you can just scale up in the cloud, but the work 
involved to get there when you have a small overworked team isn't 
trivial.  (It's not hard, I know).

So I would like to continue to use D as others later start to 
build on what I began and, from that point of view, it's a pity 
that there isn't a nice place I can point them to that gets the 
commercial benefits across - we have a fragment here and there, 
but no coherent place that tells a compelling (truthful) story.

The reddit talk is full of generalities about how the enterprise 
needs this or that to even consider using a language like D.  I 
don't doubt this is representative of peoples' personal 
experiences, but it isn't true of the commercial world in general 
necessarily.  There's a great deal of variation in the needs and 
cultures of enterprises .  One doesn't need to appeal to 
everyone; just to make sure that those for whom one is a natural 
solution can find one and easily perceive how it will be useful.

If that's a problem for me, it surely must be for others.  I have 
one leg in the technology domain, and one in the commercial side 
(my real job is as a macro and fixed income trader/investor, but 
I came to see the need to develop some tools to help me - the 
challenge being complexity, but coming at a time when technology 
- used masterfully - can help significantly, and be a source of 
sustained advantage), and this perspective perhaps makes some 
things clearer that wouldn't be the case if standing only in tech 
or the business side.

I really like what John Colvin and company are doing with 
dlangscience.  His talk really made clear a similar insight in 
his world that applies even more strongly to the enterprise area.

Ideally, I'd build a prototype portal to get across what I mean.  
I simply don't have the time at the moment as I have too much on 
my plate and certain other constraints.  When I can, I'll 
contribute a little funding, but that likely will be a year or 
two away, depending on how things go.

In the meantime, I am trying to do my bit where I can.  I wrote a 
good part of the coming from python page (not original, but 
that's not the aim).  I wasn't very well the other day and 
unhappy about feeling useless, so I tried to think of something I 
could do.  I posted the Andrei story to Reddit - a tiny effort, 
but it received c. 1900 upvotes and I think was one of the 
best-read pieces this month and at least a few people probably 
will try D that wouldn't have tried it before.  There are so many 
more easy wins if one just starts to think in this manner.

But maybe we could make a start, just by adding to, and 
continuing to refine these narratives.  And collecting various 
corporate use stories in one place.  EMSI recently received very 
nice exposure in a New York Times piece on developments in the 
labour market that was really entirely based on their work.

And their work is done in D.

So we should somewhere get to a place where we highlight these 
kinds of success stories for D in a living way, and use 
appropriate channels to make people aware of them.

The nice thing about a wiki format is one doesn't need to do much 
to be incrementally useful, and yet over time increments do add 


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