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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Era Of Disposable Software

(Via Lesscode)A custom prepared presentation viewed as being quite useful to several expert users within an enterprise was valid only for an hour or so, takes more than two weeks to prepare. Alexbunardzic wonders why a software application, on the other hand, gets invariably perceived as being something that not only must possess phenomenal longevity (at least 3 to 5 years, according to the current rule of a thumb), but must also offer a huge portion of salvageability, that is, reusability. A typical Microsoft powerpoint business presentation,is not expected to be reusable. There usually is quite a wealth of useful information and knowledge buried inside such typical presentation, but not all are particularly bent on salvaging that content, or on reusing it, or on evolving it, etc.
In the world of software application development, the delivered source code, and all the embedded knowledge it carries within, gets treated as pure gold. All of a sudden, everybody talks about the need to reuse it, not to reinvent the wheel. Something is terribly mystified (beyond any recognition) in the world of software application development, calling for a reality check. The current technologies in vogue, (J2EE and .NET) are so complicated, and calls for efforts to roll out a highly customized solution. It is becoming more and more clear that delivering huge, bulky, all-things-to-all-people software applications is simply not the way to go. We are now ushering into an era of disposable software. Build it quickly, with a particular narrow problem in mind, and for a particular, possibly short time frame of valid use. Then, be prepared to throw it away, and to move on, not looking back.
With the new generation of tools and new outlook on the philosophy of software development, such an approach is becoming increasingly feasible. Instead of attempting to build one giant, general purpose app, we should focus on building several more specific apps that would address specific needs of individual business blocks – otherwise, we would end with an extremely precious product that had myriad of features that end-users mostly didn’t care about. Think about it - In reality, a good software developer should be able to do just that — deliver a disposable, short lived product that addresses only the pressing needs of the moment, and then simply disappears. No maintenance, no enhancements, no song-and-dance, no bells and whistle. Interesting piece to read and definitely ponder over.

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