Friday, April 01, 2005

Today's thoughts on ASP and life

ASP.Net is a very strange place... tracing code is about the least straightforward process I've ever seen, not to mention the huge amount of 'setup' work that's required to actually *do* anything!

I remain convinced that it's the right technology, just maybe a little immature still.

I find myself thinking today about development in the early 1980's... back before graphical user interfaces, extensive inter, intra and extranet environments. We were so focused on function then, what an application was supposed to *do*. We took great pride in getting that task done with the smallest possible amount of code and tight, efficient algorithms.

Today, at least 60% of any business application is driven by the interface it will present to the user, only 40% dedicated to what it's actually supposed to do!! One of the consistently annoying components of development for me, is that some environments are extremely good, and efficient at that user interface portion, others at the data handling (the 'doing') portion. Often those two environments are not able to use the same language!

Yes, I know, and am productive with multiple computer languages, but, one of the things I really dislike is having to learn an entire new language to utilize a new interface tool, when I already know how to do everything else in several other languages.

.Net has attempted to remedy that, what with the common CLR and all... But in many areas, the interface design portions (especially in ASP/Web forms) are so far behind it's crazy. We'll reach a point, somewhere in the future where we'll be able to develop, seamlessly, in multiple languages, with multiple tool sets.

Today that's not the case. I keep wondering why? The technology is out there, it's available... Maybe it's the (probably very real) fear that the ability of managers to 'manage' the code base would be destroyed. If that's the case, we should move forward NOW... They're not managing it anyway, the programmers are.

Every time I read about another Outsourcing/Offshoring project going belly-up I find myself thinking the folks who backed the project had no clue what was really going on in their own company. For any management effort to be successful, the managers have to actually know how to manage!

I've been fortunate to have actually worked on two contract projects where the project managers not only could manage but actually knew the difference between management, and control. They are not synonymous terms, contrary to what many managers think!

A fellow at USAir/Sabre and my current project manager understand that their people are the strength of their team, and at the root of it's ultimate success or failure. These two, out of a cast of over 50, stand out. They've identified the strengths and abilities of the team members, assign tasks and then leave them alone to get them done! Interestingly enough, they are the only two I can recall, who consistently reach all of their goals, despite tough time frames and big projects. There's a lesson in there somewhere!!!

Well.. enough pondering for the moment... I need to get back to work!


Braleigh said...

I was hoping I'd be able to leave as cool/interesting a comment as the ones you've been posting on my blog (thanks! :D) but sadly, I know absolutely nothing of the technological world or computer coding. SO instead, I wept for a few hours and left this pitiful comment. Thanks again for the comments; I'm glad you enjoy my writing.

courtneyelizabeth said...

i really like your layout!

Bill said...

Braleigh - I'm glad you stopped by, I hope you're kidding about the weeping... all this 'puter stuff causes me to do enough for several people already!

Courtney - Thanks! I keep toying with it... that's one of the downsides of doing this stuff for a living... you never think it's 'good enough'.


Braleigh said...

Haha, don't worry, I wasn't actually tormented. Actually, when any computer-related stressor aggravates me, I just run away and my dad, a computer technician, wages war against it, while I blissfully ignore the whole situation.
I, too, like your layout.

Bill said...

Braleigh... now there ya go!! I do the same thing with 'hardware' issues at the gig... I always tell 'em "I just write software" and relax while the hardware folks sort it all out.

Thanks again.. I appreciate the feedback.