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A developer of my company was promoted to a new possition that practically manages us developers, and he assigned to 3 people in our team(including me) some big proyects done in Java/Delphi/.NET, the point of being a team was so that each of us could manage each other's code in case that someone goes on vacation or leaves the company for any reason.

Suggestions start on monday but i really have not found any solid information on how language agnostic teams work, nor how to manage one, although my idea was to advice a eclipse/maven/jenkins enviroment with TDD approach for java projects, but i do not know what is best for us in the other languages.

Would you migrate the Delphi .Net applications to Java as well? Or would you learn both languages as well and just leave it as it is.

I am sort of a java fanboy but i wouldn't mind learning other languages, but what i do think is that having one language has advantages like everyone knowing the same tools and less tools to master.

I still do not know what to suggest besides what i said above, any advice on this sort of problems is appreciated.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 22 '11 at 3:51

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3 Answers

I've have situations in my team where my developers have to maintain systems written in different languages too, and it's pretty common.

This typically occurs over the years when the team goes through different management cycles. 8-10 years ago, the development manager wanted everything done in VB6. 6 years ago, the new dev manager decided .NET was the way to go, and all new applications were written in it. He decided for the sake of productivity, rather maintain the legacy applications instead of rewrite them.

Last year, the new new dev manager decided he doesn't really care what .NET language is used to write apps, since it all gets compiled into the same CLR. Wow. Now we have VB6 apps, VB .NET apps and C# apps. I literally used to hire VB6 guys to maintain the old stuff because we just can't cope with sacrificing existing developer's time to upgrade it.

Because of my succession planning attempts, most developers understand C#, VB and VB6 well enough to cope with it, and they've all got their strong points for a specific language. Good programmers pick up languages easy, and it's a sign of potential in my eyes.

Migrate all your applications to a good platform if you have the budget for it. If you don't, set yourself a medium-term goal to migrate it. If you have problems reaching goals, then you better have some really inspired team members to take on different projects.

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Rather than suggestions, I would ask questions or maybe I don't have enough to help you but here it goes.

Why the need for different languages? Could you not consolidate? It not, then do the applications in the different languages need to collaborate. If yes, then is a web services solution using SOAP or REST an option? Why were the teams not based on applications?

Personally I don't see any reason to learn multiple languages. It is more important to understand concepts and be able to solve them because as a developer that is your ultimate goal to find a solution to a problem. And if you are a good developer then it is to resolve it efficiently.

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Are there valid reasons for the projects being developed in different languages?

ie, for each project, is the chosen language the best tool for the job?

For me, there would have to be a very good reason to have 3 people on the same team using different toolsets. You are missing out on the opportunity to share knowledge. Seems like a bad idea. I'd personally recommend choosing .NET or Java and sticking with it. Not sure you can go wrong with either.

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