Custom Application Development

Jun 27 2009   1:36PM GMT

Application Over Design — Is there such a thing?

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Yes there is ladies and gentlemen!  End of story, NOT end of post!

While doing some “cleaning up” around the office recently I ran into a design spec that I had the misfortune to encounter some 20 years ago.  It was submitted as a “Preliminary Draft”, weighed in at about the birth of a child (…only kidding, but over 100 double sided pages of small print), and was supposed to describe (as an overview) the specifications desired for a new manufacturing and inventory control system.  The project was scrapped after a number of months as not “fitting the budget”, which come to find out really couldn’t possibly have supported much more than that design specification itself.  I kept the document around to serve as a reminder to me of how NOT to design an application.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I figure that had the specs been graphically portrayed in that specification document, rather than verbal, its birthweight might have been reduced to that of a rodent.  As a side benefit, it may also have been read (…resulting in understanding)!  What a concept!  Then there might have been more of a budget for actually getting the project off the ground!

However, at that time the powerful time-saving and graphical development environments we have available today were more a dream than reality.  While I knew of COBOL programmers who seemed to think in terms of 80 or 132 columns and 24 to 80 row grids, and thus could very quickly place items properly on screens and reports, they were a special bunch!  Todays tools very much support the ability to a certain extent, to “design-as-you-go”.  It’s a wonderful time for development!  Anyone ever wonder what we’ll be using 20 years from now?

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