learn to be backward/forward compatible...

Posted by redthil On 8/17/2009 10:55:00 PM

You might have heard about 'backward compatibility' in programming. for those who wonder what jargon am i talking about, let me give you a quick explanation. "In programming languages, backwards compatibility refers to the ability of a compiler for version N of the language to accept programs or data that worked under version N-1" (thanks to wikipedia). To explain it in English, its just a newer system, still be able to understand and communicate fluently with the previous old system. let me not confuse u more (hope u got what is backward compatible).

Lets now take a different route. lets talk about human interactions. when it comes to human, i dont like to measure the compatibility comparing with his/her own previous stage/version. Its measured between two persons, over time period or entire life. well, how do we define 'version's? i define it based on the person's experience, like, a person gets to a higher version, if he/she gets a sudden change, from which you see the same world little differently, which means gaining new experience. And the frequency of this version change is indirectly proportional to the age, whereas the version number is directly proportional to the age. By "between two persons", i'm not refering to just life-partners only, or to-be life partners only. This two persons can be related with any relationship, like dad/mom-son/daughter, lovers, life-partners, grandpa/grandma-grandson/granddaughter, or any distant relationships like relatives or beyond any relationship like friends. Also it does not depend on the gender of the two persons.

When two persons of same version has conversation, it always goes smoothly. The problem arises when there is difference in the version between the two person, or some version change happened just to one person among the two. The output of the conversation depends on how the communication between the two different version person flows. The lower version person (being in the modern world) may have advanced thinking and desires based on the present scenario. but still, the higher version person may reject your message, because its not sent in the proper way which the higher version person can accept it . So, instead of valuing your message, the higher version person simply considers the message from lower version person as invalid (which in lower-version standards, is very valid message). And the similar event happens when the higher version sends message to the lower version person, which is again rejected by the lower version person, considering the message as invalid. So, it always proves that, its always a problem when there is conversation between two different version persons.

So, Whats to solution to this problem? This has to be looked from two different views. First, from the lower version person: you haven't got/gained enough experience, hence you're in lower version. so, try to have "forward compatibility", by re-coding yourself in such a way to get the messages from higher version, decode it properly, and accept it if valid, otherwise, reply to that message in a way, which that higher version person can understand properly. Secondly, from higher version person: you might have got more experience, but some of which may be outdated. so, try to be "backward compatible", so that u can receive the message from lower version person, decode it properly, accept it if valid, otherwise, reply to that message in a way that lower version can understand properly.

When you consider yourself, you have persons with lower version, as well as persons with higher versions. Hence, to have smooth conversations/relationship, always learn to be both backward and forward compatible.

(I know. into too much of programming suddenly, may result in such kind of posts having stupid way of explaining things. cant help. please bear with me for some more time huh.. ;) )


  1. Red, I loved this post.

    You've got this special way of explaining things.

    I was thinking, "wow, is that that simple". And then I thought it perhaps was.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 7:57:00 AM

  2. Deepa Said,

    Thalai.... gr8 blog!!!! but I am skeptical abt u writing it.... when did u become such a deep thinker and philospher???!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 3:11:00 PM

  3. redthil Said,

    "special".. ya.. 'weird' or 'stupid' is also special sometimes....

    abt simple, every complex thing can be broken down to simple things finally... and i think most ppl tend to look only as 'how complex the problem is", rather than thinking abt the simple ones which got grown into this complex over time. hence, its always better to break it down into simple things and act immediately than postponing.

    thanks DD... it happens accidentally... nothing intentional u kno... but not to the extent like what u told.. and nothing like u DD...

    Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 4:20:00 PM

My Photo
Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
View my complete profile