Do object-relational mappers (ORMs) really improve application development?
When I started developing web applications, I used perl. Not even all of perl, mostly just a bunch of “if” statements and an occasional loop that happened to be valid perl (aside: I remember being surprised that I was allowed to write a loop that would run on a shared server, because “what if it didn’t terminate?!”). I didn’t use databases; I used a mix of files, regexes to parse them, and flock to control concurrency (not because of foresight or good engineering, but because I ran into concurrency-related corruption).
I then made the quantum leap to databases. I didn’t see the benefits instantaneously, but it was clearly a major shift in the way I developed applications.