Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Is This the Evolution of Application Development?

Saturday, January 04, 2003  

While wasting my time Encore's action channel and surfing the web I came across this article about the future of software development. These are very similar to points made by Eric S. Raymond in The Halloween Documents. Let me editorialize about three of the four points covered; after all, it's my weblog and I can do that.

New applications suddenly sprout up overnight.
The "scratch the itch" point made by ESR. Any developer(s) can enhance an existing open source application or create one from scratch. Doesn't matter -- whatever solves the problem he/she/they want to pursue. With freely available operating systems and tools there is a standard platform for any individual or team to create something for their own satisfaction combined with the ego gratification of releasing it into the public domain.

Development reiterates endlessly.
Release early, release often. If you haven't heard the mantra of open source already, here it is. By speeding up application releases and using the scaling power of the Internet for feedback and fixes, software mutates faster and bugs are fixed more quickly. Stability and reliability are particularly desirable to those of us who run IT departments. Bizarre and endless rabbit trails of application crashes have left us worn out and cranky.

Usability carries more weight than features.
Usability in this case is the ability to combine content from several sources to create what you need. Pulling together XML, HTML, Office documents and the like to assemble real information is the goal.

There's an interesting bifurcation in software development. On the one hand there's software developed for the lowest common denominator where features are more important than quality. The Microsoft model -- integrate everything, tightly couple the GUI with the features and make certain that standards are "embraced and extended," presumably to add value. The open source model is the other hand -- layer the OS and applications, loosely couple the GUI with the features and actually use standards to encourage interoperability. This model appeals to those who are willing to perform more customizing and deal with "best of breed" issues.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 1/04/2003 12:45:00 AM

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