I want to make one thing clear from the start. I am not an old-timer... yet. I've been a professional software engineer since 2006, and plan to stick with it for the long haul. I've seen things. I've done things. Horrible, cringe-worthy things. And I love to laugh about them now, so I thought I'd share a few of my stories.
I was working at a small software shop that made CRM software that integrated with Novell products, Groupwise in particular. I was on a team of 2 developers: a Delphi programmer who was in charge of a desktop client, and me, in charge of the Java web application. (Back in these days, "desktop" still meant an application running locally on your own operating system, not just a web app in full screen mode.)
Just to be clear on the architecture, we had a thick client that ran on each persons desktop that communicated directly with the database. No middle tier. Let me say that again.... No... middle.. tier. The java web application came along much later in the development of this product, so it wasn't exposing APIs for that desktop client to use.
It was just as well, because we didn't do server-side integration with Groupwise anyway. They hadn't exposed a server side api at all. The desktop app accessed things like your email and calendar from COM objects that were installed with Groupwise. That was pretty standard back then.
That year, at Novell's BrainShare conference, they announced a server-side integration option, using the best web api available, with a SOAP interface, and we were thrilled, to have that as an option. THRILLED!
Needless to say, things these days are drastically different than they used to be, not very long ago. I'm lucky enough to work with newer technologies most of the time, but I'm also very aware of the large number of people that still work with this type of technology, and much, much older. To those poor souls stuck in the past, you have my thanks. You keep the world turning.