How Much Better Could Your Applications Be?

It seems that developers are constantly re-inventing the wheel when it comes to starting new application development projects. Low-level routines that do things like handle database connections or write log files are needed, as well as higher-level features like a user account system or row/column data security. I'd like to suggest that time spent on these kinds of development is activities is fairly low-value. It's very rare that there's any unique skill or knowledge that a given developer has that makes his time spent on this kind of app under-pinnings valuable. Most people would agree that it's not strategic, that it's just a tactical thing that's part of the process of building an application – but it's something you have to do, so you do it. Right? Well, in most platforms, yes.

What makes unique–among other things–is that the platform's focus is more narrow than a general purpose platform like Java, PHP or .NET. It's this niche of data-centric, business applications that allows us to be more focused on the types of things that tend to be required in those types of applications: user account systems, data security systems, data validation rules, web service inputs and outputs, input forms, reports, charts, data grids, etc. The result of this is a whole suite of functionality built-in the system that allows you to leapfrog the foundational stuff and get right into the important things like defining your core data model, logic, and presentation. This is the high-value stuff.

Think about what extra features or what extra fit-and-finish you could put on your application if you didn't have to spend all the time that you normally do creating all the low-level under-pinnings of the application. How much better could your applications be?

February 9, 2009

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How Much Better Could Your Applications Be?