Can A Phoenix Arise From The Ashes Of Mumps?

Rob Tweed | The EWD Files | January 22, 2013

There’s a major problem that is growing increasingly critical in the Mumps application world: where are the new generation of developers going to come from to support what is a pretty massive legacy of applications? The US Dept of Veterans’ Affairs’ (VA) so-called VistA Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) is just one of a large number of healthcare applications that was written in Mumps and is supported and maintained by a dwindling number of developers who understand and/or enjoy using Mumps.  The sheer scale of VistA and its growing popularity as an Open Source EHR outside the VA means severe problems ahead if a way of injecting new blood into its development community cannot be figured out very soon.

Simultaneously, there’s always been a massive frustration amongst those who (like me) have “gotten” Mumps: nobody else in the IT industry has ever been able to “get it” at all.

In a recent presentation, Javascript guru Douglas Crockford suggested that people who manage to “get” monads (a programming pattern that has emerged from the functional programming world) unfortunately immediately lose the ability to explain them to anyone else. I think those of us who have “gotten” Mumps have suffered the same ailment: we’ve never been able to articulate what was the particular “je ne sais quoi” magic that captured our interest in Mumps to anyone in the wider IT industry..