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Thread: Recommending a technology

  1. #31
    Michael Gautier Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology

    This can be considered a complex, multiple form, workflow, offline/online
    application that has to be cross platform.

    I read your post and especially liked the part when you said, "They have no
    real idea what is involved
    in attempting such a distributed project, they have not talked .....". I
    warned them three days ago that they may be biting off more than we can chew
    at this time. I told them about the development risk of research eating up
    the development schedule. I even recommended an alternate strategy where
    they do an HTML based site now and do the more complex, offline/online,
    cross platform client application later. Each of these points gave them
    pause for a few seconds. In the end, however, they will learn at my expense,
    because will be a technical failure for me, but a learning opportunity for
    them. He finally admitted that if we were a few months late, that wouldn't
    bother him. I know for a fact that his boss doesn't feel the same way, but
    since I don't to the back stabbing thing, oh well . . . .

    Thing is, I worked at various technology companies before working here. This
    is an IT company inside of a larger company and this would be their first
    offline/synchronization application attempt. I was accustomed to meeting
    deadlines, having practical, effective, executable technical strategies and
    processes. Fortunately or Unfortunately, this is my first exposure to a
    Mainframe oriented organization with pc application spinoffs here and there.
    Things certainly are different. There is more beauracracy, conservatism,
    status quo and pc application projects are managed by former (top) mainframe
    programmers trying to make technical decisions on technologies they have no
    hands on experience with. Has anyone had to deal with this? How do I better
    approach this situation, because the only approach I have had so far has
    been reactionary? For example, they think linearly on everything, and even
    though I explain threads, they still think linearly so it results in the
    divergent technical recommendations and the traditional approaches win most
    of the time. Or could it be because I am 25 with knowledge of recent
    technology practices and they are 40 and have vast experience in
    procedural/database stuff on the mainframe?


    "Alan" <amassey@multiplan.com> wrote in message
    news:3d7cda8c$1@10.1.10.29...
    >
    > If this is a complicated data entry GUI, then this applies. If it's ten

    lines
    > and two buttons, what's the big deal?
    >
    > I ran into this with a product I implemented for a large EDI translator

    vendor.
    > Their solution was ActiveX controls which limited both the server and

    client
    > platforms to Microsoft. The ability to quickly modify the code for

    customer
    > specific data entry screens made the product work somewhat along with the
    > ability to enter data off-line, but it eventually failed due to the

    complexity
    > of the application issues at that time (about three years ago ActiveX

    controls
    > over the web, YECH!).
    >
    > Their second attempt at a solution was an XML based application that

    utilized
    > JavaScript and XSLT transforms. This provided the "thin client", but

    required
    > that the client stay connected to a web server. We all know the problems
    > that surround this, so I won't go into it here.
    >
    > I have also had experience with Java solutions for the very task before

    you.
    > Those solutions suffered from the same issues that have plagued Java from
    > the start. Many of these issues have been addressed in the past few

    years,
    > however. Your ramp up time will more than blow out the three months of

    development
    > time you have. Without a debugger and working from a VB background you

    will
    > be lost and the code will be filled with logic errors like you wouldn't

    believe.
    >
    > My point is this: Many compaines (big companies) have tried to do what

    you
    > have been asked to do and failed. These companies had many years and big
    > budgets. You have neither the time nor I'll venture to guess the money.
    >
    >
    > You stated that this was a mainframe only shop until recently when it went
    > client server. I see this project being the same mistake that many other
    > mainframe shops have made before them. They have no real idea what is

    involved
    > in attempting such a distributed project, they have not talked to anyone
    > who has attempted such a project and you get the "Pointy Haired Boss" line
    > "Anything I don't understand must therefore be trivial." moving into play.
    >
    > Platform independence is a pie in the sky desire. Java, for all it's

    greatness,
    > does not delive true platform independance because the VM's out there are
    > not all the same. I come from many years of experience with Java across
    > platforms when I make this statement.
    >
    > Save yourself and your company quite a bit of frustration. Wait until you
    > have a better handle on the only technologies that are going to come close
    > to being what the project requires in my opinion, Flash and Adobe. There
    > are to many pitfalls with the other choices.




  2. #32
    Michael Gautier Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology

    Could you elaborate a bit on the planning for cross platform Java as well as
    what some of the tricky issues could be?


    "MarkN" <m@n.com> wrote in message news:3d7dcb2c$1@10.1.10.29...
    >
    > <Q>
    > Platform independence is a pie in the sky desire. Java, for all it's

    greatness,
    > does not delive true platform independance because the VM's out there are
    > not all the same. I come from many years of experience with Java across
    > platforms when I make this statement.
    > </Q>
    >
    > Many others have and are successfully accomplishing this goal. It is not
    > alway 100% (i.e. CICS on PCs?). Java platform independence is over-hyped
    > but it is not pie in the sky. You do have to plan for it. And it is

    better
    > than nothing at all. While Flash is cool and creates cool interfaces, it
    > brings up alot of other issues (Single vendor, etc.).




  3. #33
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology


    <Q>
    For example, they think linearly on everything, and even
    though I explain threads, they still think linearly so it results in the
    divergent technical recommendations and the traditional approaches win most
    of the time. Or could it be because I am 25 with knowledge of recent
    technology practices and they are 40 and have vast experience in
    procedural/database stuff on the mainframe?
    </Q>

    I run into this too. Funny thing is, most programmers think this way. Even
    those using OO languages like Java and C#. Most VBers and ASPers have trouble
    getting past procedural/database thinking. They just do it with newer tools.
    They may throw in XMl but now it is not database data it is XML data.

    It seems the project you are on is not a simple little whip it out thing.
    There are major current and future issues to think about. Sounds like
    fun (except for the politics stuff). You need someone with a good mix of
    both platforms but with good architectual skills.



  4. #34
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology


    Mostly it is being aware of using non-cross platform 3 party tools. Also
    things like the file system - don't use things like "C:\" and rootName +
    "\" + filename. Anything that is not cross platform make sure you talk via
    interface - which of course is what you should be doing anyway. For most
    things you do, you should have few if any issues. If you are doing graphics
    or multimedia you may have more issues.


    No matter what, you want to test on your target platforms. Think VB programs
    always work on all windows machines?

    "Michael Gautier" <gautier_michael@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >Could you elaborate a bit on the planning for cross platform Java as well

    as
    >what some of the tricky issues could be?
    >
    >
    >"MarkN" <m@n.com> wrote in message news:3d7dcb2c$1@10.1.10.29...
    >>
    >> <Q>
    >> Platform independence is a pie in the sky desire. Java, for all it's

    >greatness,
    >> does not delive true platform independance because the VM's out there

    are
    >> not all the same. I come from many years of experience with Java across
    >> platforms when I make this statement.
    >> </Q>
    >>
    >> Many others have and are successfully accomplishing this goal. It is

    not
    >> alway 100% (i.e. CICS on PCs?). Java platform independence is over-hyped
    >> but it is not pie in the sky. You do have to plan for it. And it is

    >better
    >> than nothing at all. While Flash is cool and creates cool interfaces,

    it
    >> brings up alot of other issues (Single vendor, etc.).

    >
    >



  5. #35
    Guy Smith Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology


    >There is more beauracracy, conservatism,
    >status quo and pc application projects are managed by former (top) >mainframe

    programmers trying to make technical decisions on technologies >they have
    no hands on experience with. Has anyone had to deal with this? > How do I
    better approach this situation, because the only approach I >have had so
    far has been reactionary? For example, they think linearly on > everything,
    and even though I explain threads, they still think linearly > so it results
    in the divergent technical recommendations and the >traditional approaches
    win most of the time.

    I've dealt with issues such as these before. Your best approach to this
    situation is to "run like ****". Honestly.

    I spent a few years trying to "update" the development practices of a software
    company. Same problems. People at the top thought they knew it all and
    were lost in the past. I spent time pushing for change only to realize the
    company didn't even think there was a problem. Change like this is a HUGE
    undertaking.

    You are going to need to educate the people at the top. But, because they
    haven't taken the time to educate themselves (thread programming has been
    around for YEARS... can you spell U-N-I-X and C?), they are not bloody likely
    to start because some young gun thinks they should. They probably don't even
    recognize themselves as being a problem. Want to rock the boat by implying
    to senior managers they are outdated or aren't doing their job properly?
    If you start now, it will probably take 6 months to a year to convince them
    that there is a problem, and much longer to fix it. Hopefully you have a
    few years to invest in this company and are prepared for failure.

    Another thing to concider is there may not be a problem. If the company
    is making money as-is, even if they are ***-backwards, they may be happy
    with how things are. Or perhaps they looked at updating and realized it
    just isn't cost effective at this point.

    If you can, grab an open minded senior manager, sit down and express what
    you've experienced. See what the manager thinks of the matter. You'll probably
    get some perspectives you have not concidered and perhaps some good advice.

    >Or could it be because I am 25 with knowledge of recent technology >practices

    and they are 40 and have vast experience in procedural/database >stuff on
    the mainframe?

    I wouldn't say this is an age issue. It is more of a "company culture" issue.
    The company culture obviously doesn't embrace teaching their staff new technology
    and evolving with the times. Company culture is very hard to change because
    it is the foundation of the company.

    Imagine a law firm that stopped learning new laws 10 years ago! Funny how
    this seems to be the "norm" in some software companies.

    Guy

  6. #36
    Markn Guest

    Re: Recommending a technology


    >I've dealt with issues such as these before. Your best approach to this
    >situation is to "run like ****". Honestly.


    Sounds like pretty much every place I've worked at or heard of. Running
    won't do. Doesn't matter if it is a mainframe shop or a VB/ASP shop. They
    are no better than each other. Linear is no better than GUI first.



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