Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bringing applications back from the grave...

I had an interesting chat with a customer who was reviewing a "new" prebaked offering from one of my competitors and wanted my recommendation whether to buy the application. I wasn't really comfortable doing that since I saw a large conflict of interest bubbling to the surface even if I liked the application, however since I had no NDA with the supplier, courtesy and curiosity won out and I had a look.

Have you noticed how easy it is to tell when :
  • an application was originally written in R6/R7 ?
  • the developers have used that application to learn about R8.5 design elements?
  • multiple designers have sequentially modified an application with no documentation to guide them?
  • large chucks of the original application have been removed and rejigged to bring it "up to date"
In the end I merely commented that all of the coding seemed to be in Lotusscript and he needed to consider whether that suited his strategic direction for the future (and I hope it does). I guess the real question is whether a facelift will allow complex R7 apps to survive in a Brave New XPage-centric world, or whether they need to be rebuilt from the ground up. I suspect the latter, but I'm not in the shrinkwrap market.



Erik Brooks said...

Based on what IBM was talking about at Lotussphere (better integration with XPages and LotusScript) I'd say "Yes."

If they deliver what they're promising it should be very possible to upgrade pieces of an app to XPages over time, leveraging the existing LS code and replacing that as needed/possible.

Gavin Bollard said...

Well, I'm going to say "No".

I'm all for doing the "George Lucas" on trusty older apps. (Keeping the same base but replacing the special effects with XPages).

The thing is that those old apps have had years of trusted operation and they're 100% compatible with older releases of Notes.

Why reinvent the wheel when you can simply put a slick new coating on it?

Of course, you should be honest and sell it as a refurbished and improved product, not a re-imagination.