Custom Application Development

Apr 26 2008   1:18PM GMT

Application Code Maintenance vs Re-Creation



Posted by: SJC
Tags:
Business Application Value
Software application development
Software maintenance
Software Quality

Which would you rather do — maintain an existing application’s code or create (maybe re-create) an application from scratch?  Obviously, it would depend upon the complexity and size of the application, and perhaps the tools used to create the app — but I believe that at some point after an app has been in service for a while, it reachs a point where I’d rather re-create rather than do maintenance to bring it up-to-date.

It has been my experience that somewhere in the 5-10 years of use range between hardware changes, O/S changes, functionality additions, “bug” fixes and patchs for the various changes — it becomes time to “rebuild” the application.  Again in my experience, what I have found is that the code appears to resemble more a patchwork quilt than that of a logical program by that time.  This fact appears to be one of the best “selling” points to use when approaching the idea of re-writing an application with the management that will have to pay for it. 

Our off-the-shelf software creators take care of this for us — we get what they want to give us — like it or not.  I won’t go off on a rant about application “bloat”  (…which I am very capable of doing!).  With our custom application programs we DO have an opportunity to evaluate and re-design according to the latest techniques, and add functionality (or not) in an orderly – maintainable – fashion.  I don’t suggest adding functionality “just because you can”, yet if it “fits”, if it adds to the useability of the application, then consider it.

There is many a program which I have re-written as the result of a re-evaluation of the application.  Particularly I will choose to re-write when the application has become a “bear” to maintain.  Sometimes the user sees no change, yet an application which can be easily maintained and is up-to-date with the technology is (at least in my book) always preferable.

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