Custom Application Development

March 4, 2008  8:17 PM

Quick Thoughts on Application Value

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Experience a major meltdown of your workstation and I suspect the value of various applications will come to mind VERY quickly! There is nothing like going without your favorite applications, or your workhorse applications for a few days to develop a significant appreciation for application value. My last 2 weeks have been filled with recovering from such a meltdown.

If you’re like me as you have used your workstation (…perhaps for years) it has accumulated a number of handy utilities that are not “big” names, yet you use them each and every day. Perhaps they were something you found on the internet years ago and fell in love with and it has become part and parcel of your day-to-day work. What happens IF (or more likely when?) suddenly your workstation has a meltdown? It’s really not pretty!

Replacing a defunct workstation with a brand new one is only the start of the battle – the easy part. Gathering all the software you had, reloading it, re-registering it, restoring all the “little” applications (…finding where you got them from can even be a challenge I found!) all present challenges. Doing all this while at the same time tending (…or trying to tend to) the business needs becomes a stress-producing and frustrating experience.

When it comes to establishing application value I really wonder how one would determine in advance the effect of having an application suddenly NOT available once all the investment in application creation and implementation was made. I believe that if in the early stages of application definition one would be able to look ahead 5 years to look at what the potential dependency might be on the application it could be another way to think of application value.

February 13, 2008  4:11 PM

How to Measure Application Value – Step 1

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Since my living is earned through providing organizations with software application value this topic is one of great interest to me.  I’ve also stated regularly in this blog that I normally am dealing with small business.  In many cases when it comes to establishing the value of an application my clients are relying heavily on my skills in establishing application value for them.  They in most instances have recognized that there is some business process of theirs that is just not working.  This is the starting point for establishing value of an application project. Continued »

February 12, 2008  9:34 PM

How to Measure Application Value – Part 1

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

When it comes to applications and the buy, build or ignore decision, one of the first considerations must be to find an answer to the question of what value the application is expected to bring forth.  That sounds simple enough, but how exactly does one measure the multiple values which any given application may be expected to provide.  On top of that, many applications once implemented can produce results which were totally unexpected.   Then of course there is always the challenge of putting A monetary value to the benefits.  All of these present challenges for both the developer organization and end customer.  So – where does one begin.

 I certainly don’t pretend to have the “answer”.  In fact, I believe, there really is no one answer for any organization, and the answers and methods used to evaluate “value” will vary from project to project.  My experience would show that sometimes the applications that prove of greatest value weren’t on anybodys radar, but were championed by someone within the organization with enough “clout” to say simply “do it!”

To set the record straight, I’m not saying here to “build it and they will come”, but I am saying that with proper consciousness to the business processes it is possible to hit a home run with an application that if analyzed early on with a “cost / benefit” analysis would fail miserably.  In following posts I intend to bring forth some of the perhaps “odd” methods I’ve been familiar with.

In the mean time, If you have anything you think should be addressed about application value — please post.

February 7, 2008  12:17 PM

Applications, the Business and the Processes

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Reading Bob Lewis’s most recent article in KJR set my head spinning with thoughts of a commoditized IT similar to that of an electric company.  What Bob Lewis refers to in his article is a recent book entitled The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google (W. W. Norton, 2008), and written by Nicholas Carr.  The very concept of IT as a commodity makes my stomach churn, as I’m sure it does with many of my associates.  Continued »

January 28, 2008  12:55 PM

Development Humor as Thought Provoking Material

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

While reading through one of the Visual Dataflex newsgroup posts last week I stumbled upon an exchange where some developers were talking about their preference to keep their machines “clean”, as in not installing programs which are not going to be used, but for one reason or another get “added” — something like the various shortcuts that appear after loading just about any commercial program these days —  tax software for instance:>)

Anyway, the following excerpt was just too good to not pass along. Continued »

January 14, 2008  3:45 PM

Software Development Using Multiple Environments

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

I have used the Basic, ASP, Java, Progress 4GL and DataFlex languages to some degree within the past week.  (…as well as operating system specific programs which are another form of programming).  Each of these were used with different tools for different applications.  For Each (…there I go looping again) there are syntaxes which are very similar to identical, and at least for this brain, easily confused.  Thankfully, many of the tools provided for development today shield the programmer from the intricacies of the language. Continued »

January 10, 2008  1:47 PM

Web 2.0 Applications – Ending Desktop Clients?

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

There is much in the tech press today about Web 2.0 applications, and although the term is used very loosely, and seems to be loosely defined, there are those who seem to think that the days of the desktop client are numbered!  My question is — what number?  My answer to the question would have to be roughly equivalent to the number of days that it has taken Cobol to die (remember Cobol, the language of business years ago?  and still around today?).

Well, Web applications have in fact come a long way from their start, and certainly they have made significant advances in their ability to handle the tasks of ordering on-line and related tasks.  However, while I read about all the wonderful Web 2.0 applications being created I find myself wondering at what point will these web applications be ready for the moment-to-moment database data entry tasks of a well-developed desktop application — or will they ever be — or if so, what about cost effectiveness?  Is there really a desire to have an ERP system for example with only a browser interface? Continued »

January 5, 2008  2:30 AM

Business Goals and Application Development

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

I am continually shocked by the constant writings I read that express (…as if it were a “New” requirement) the need for IT departments and developers to “…consider the needs of the business” — Duh!

To my way of thinking this is as basic as getting up in the morning.  There will always be something new (and improved) that the marketing gurus will be touting – and it probably won’t be inexpensive.  Determining the “savings” of the latest and greatest is tricky at best, and what about the “learning curve” before the “savings” can be realized?  How can one know until the time is spent?

In most companies one needs not look very far before coming upon areas of inefficiency. Continued »

January 1, 2008  10:10 PM

A Developers New Year Resolutions

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

I’ve never really been big on New Years Resolutions as it seems that I, like most people, have found that making such resolutions hasn’t made a difference for me.  However as I find myself plowing full-speed ahead into 2008 I thought it might be appropriate for me to at least identify a handful of areas within which (perhaps) I could look at “improving”.  Upon further thought, I realized that I am certainly not alone when it comes to failed resolutions, or areas where I might be able to do better.  Hence I share with others my thoughts on some areas of development which I believe could provide a positive impact on my performance as a developer — and probably others around me.

A Developers New Year Resolutions

  • I will embrace learning
    • There are many times that the rapidly-changing development environment seems to be a burden.  There is always something new to learn.
    • I vow to remember that learning is powerful and I truly love learning.
  • I will document
    •  Nobody is standing over me to see if I document areas about which questions can arise
    • documenting will save time – minimize mistakes – “Why Not do it?”
  • I will communicate
    • with other developers
    • with my clients
    • with those around me who say “Get a Life!”
  • I will PLAN
    • testing to be done on code I produce
    • my work – and “work” my plan!

Happy New Year to All!

December 31, 2007  8:07 PM

End of the Year Development Thoughts

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

As year 2007 closes, once again I find myself staring down hours of work begining with the closing schedule(s) of clients for whom I have been busily preparing updates which will be put into service with the start of the new year.  The update programs have been tested and re-tested, methodology for accomplishing the changes have been outlined and preparations for a long evening have begun.  It seems that I have been through this cycle countless years, the ultimate of which was the preparations for the year 2000 of course — remember that?  It seems so long ago now!

Most of my clients are on a calendar year end, and while only a percentage of them require my services at year end, tasks for those that do tend to be complex – the result is that for the once-a-year complexities they would rather “have the professional” do it.  I’m not sure how many other developers experience this – but for me it has been quite common.

For those of you reading this who celebrate the New Year my best wishes go out to you all for a safe and prosperous New Year.  Until then, it’s back to the grind for yours truly.

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