Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why can't I be a fanboy??

Why aren't the so-called “fanboys” taken seriously?  Why is it always assumed that a “fanboy” is a blindly faithful, shill or troll?  With all the hype and press around Ruby and Rails, wouldn't you classify these folks as “fanboys?”  No? So if you're an early adopter of anything new, you're on the bleading edge, but if the technology is more mainstream and mature but is still clearly valuable and has an excellent track record, you're a “fanboy.”  One of the comments many folks make in arguments against the “fanboy-ism” is that they don't have an open mind.  To me that is simply a “PC” way of saying “you have a closed mind because you don't agree with me.”  I'm sorry, but how do you know that?

I was in a very mixed social setting this past weekend with a lot of folks of varying disciplines.  There were the financial folks, the sales/marketing folks, there were the sofware engineers (most of which were not from CodeGear).  I find that the engineers are usually the most closed minded bunch of folks, yet continue to think they are the most open-minded!  My wife was with me and happened to overhear a conversation between two non-CodeGear engineers.  She came and whispered in my ear saying, “That group over there is really trash-talking Delphi!  Don't they know that there are some folks from CodeGear here?” 

Now I don't know these folks and never actually had a chance to engage with them so I'm going to make some wild speculations here.  I'm probably wrong, but I'm going to use this to illustrate a point.  I've talked with folks that have “trash talked” Delphi and other CodeGear products.  There have also been times where I've just let them rant and rave, and when they finally ask what I do... the look on their face is priceless!  If they happen to actually remain in the conversation and I ask them what is it they're basing this opinion on, invariably it is either that they heard something about it, or it is based on a mental comparison of what their current tool of choice is doing for them and Delphi 1-3.  The former is just inexcusable, and the latter is like comparing and old Ferrari 308 GTB against the new Saleen S7.  Both are fine examples of automotive engineering for their respective eras, but the 308 just isn't quite up to modern day technical standards.  The comparison just isn't valid.

So, I guess the point I'm making here is that I think it is great to be a fanboy.  Passionate, dedicated, excited; these are qualities people view as positive attributes.  But isn't that what a fanboy is?  Maybe what causes folks to bristle at the notion of a fanboy is that they're not as passionate, dedicated, and excited about their tool of choice?  This is something I see in spades among the Ruby on Rails crowd.  They're passionate, excited, dedicated to this emerging technology.  Why should we be threatened by this?  We should be looking at what it is about their choice of tool and library that is getting them excited.  So maybe there is something behind that excitement?  Should I be looking at that technology?

So, are you a fanboy?  C'mon, stand up and be counted!  You don't even have to be a Delphi fanboy.  What would you consider yourself as being a fanboy of?

UPDATE: “fangirls” are welcome to participate... While I was using “fanboy” in the genderless, generic sense I figured I'd clarify.


  1. Well it probably comes as no great shock that I am unashamedly a Delphi fanboy.

    Outside of my development life, music is another great love. This puts me into an interesting situation as I am both a Tool and My Chemical Romance fanboy. The latter is often categorized as being an EMO band, and the fans of this genre of music are typically treated by Tool fans with great disdain. So I'm not quite sure how I should be feeling about myself. :-)

  2. So Allen, I know who that was and you should have seen his expression when I just reminded him of his comments. Hey, I have heard some guys rip on Dodge Chargers too who have not been in the new one.

    At least she didn't bust me for my comment about who was playing with the light switch and automatic window openner.

    You wife was great, I especially loved the 2 for one comment on twins.

  3. BTS,

    LOL! I was wondering if you'd chime in here ;-).

    The new Dodge Chargers are nice, but I can't wait for the new Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro... that's going to heat up the muscle car wars really nice :-).

    BTW, I had a great time this past weekend! My son just felt he was doing his part to help along that Scotts Valley teenager stereotype ;-).

  4. Where do we get our FanBoy T-Shirts, badges and mugs?

    Sign me up.

  5. Well although most posters will mention Delphi or something unrelated I will go against the grain and mention a few software products of which I am a fanboy.

    TeamSystem - I love the integration with work items to source control.

    FinalBuilder - great build tool.

    Sharepoint - Didn't like it at first but the new version is pretty amazing.

    .NET - I love this framework. Does what I want easily enough and makes it easy to extend.

    InstallAware - I love this product even though I don't care for the people from this company that I have had contact with.

    BITS - What a great built in Transfer service.

    Vista Ultimate - been working great for me and although I hate the UAC I see its purpose and I haven't disabled it. I am forcing our software to get around it legally by not doing anything improper. If we all did this we wouldn't see much of the UAC at all.

    Google Reader - where I get all my RSS feeds. Nice.

    Heroes - great show. Finally settles all those arguments I have with people that tell me they would fight crime if they had a superpower. (seriously would you just hang out near banks hoping to stop a robbery?)

    That's all for now. :)

    - Robert

  6. I definately am a Delphi fanboy.

    I am also a fan of PHP.

    Looked at ruby and are very interrested.

    Looked, and worked with MS VStudio and I'll have to be forced to use it again.

    I prefer not to crack tools, etc down if I don't know it, they might just have there niche in the community.

    Sometimes the comparisons are also more like comparing a Saleen to a Kia Picanto.

    Both have there place, else they wouldn't be there.

  7. Yes, i am a Delphi fanboy since 1996

    Its like i say "there's 10 types of people...those who understand binary and those don't"


  8. I think that the problem with fanboys is that many are indeed a bit "blindish" and have a huge tendency to overlook problems in the tool of their fanboyism and only see the bright side of it. True, saying that *all* fanboys are like that is definitely false, as there may be some passionate people that *can* and *do* see the rough edges of their fanboyism tool.

    As long as you're in the latter category, I have no problem with you being a fanboy! :)

    The first type of fanboys are what gives the whole term a bad name: it's a bit like the confusion about being a hacker being a bad thing!

    I'm a hacker myself and I don't consider it bad, but for many people hacker is a synonym to cracker, and I'm not in the latter category!

  9. I'm definitely a Delphi fanboy in that I tell everyone about Delphi and reflect fondly on my time with it, even if I'm not using it currently. (Although if there was a Turbo Delphi for PHP, I would be on that puppy so fast...)

    I think people are more against fanboys that are blind to other alternatives, and there's where it gets bad, and I kind of agree with that. But I think you can be a total Delphi fanboy and still admit there are solutions that don't call for Delphi.

  10. I've been called a Delphi fanboy for rather a long time.

    I guess it comes down to one thing...I haven't seen anything else that makes it easier for me to solve my development problems than Delphi. Sure, lots of products make promises, but .net, which was to be the great white hope, solves our old problems while giving us entirely new and different problems, and (in my opinion) doesn't make us more productive.

    So, the question is, does sticking with the most productive environment I've seen, in spite of

    a) all the hype and bandwagon hopping,

    b) the scorn of the people who jump from one technology to another with the frequency of a cheap HAM Radio

    c) the sheep mentality that would follow Microsoft off a cliff

    do these make me a fanboy?! :)

  11. You can like and support a product without crossing the line into "Fanboy" territory, which by definition includes irrational denial of any and all faults regardless of the evidence. These types of people HURT products by inisting that everyone think like them. They prevent people from pointing out flaws that need to be addressed by, downding them out, denegrading their character and driving them away.

    Why not just stick with enjoying and supporting a product RATIONALLY while being able to accept its flaws so that they can be addressed and repaired?


Please keep your comments related to the post on which you are commenting. No spam, personal attacks, or general nastiness. I will be watching and will delete comments I find irrelevant, offensive and unnecessary.