I posted a long time ago about working on various versions of SQL Server in the space of one week. My work over the last few weeks has been a bit of a change and I have been working for customers at their locations in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Different customers, I hasten to add. The first two weeks were an interesting time helping an Edinburgh company witht the performance of their SQL Server database. It was one of those good jobs where you get to really prove the techniques that you know about. That was interesting as well being a web architected application with Microsoft SQL Server at the backend of things, but with J2EE running on windows servers running everything else.
I have followed that up with some time spent in Glasgow helping to upgrade a business application. I’m not going to go into the technologies too much, but it is an application that has run in a similar form for a number of years. It goes to show that an application can run for years if the core business analysis is correct and comprehensive. Having just read over that I would probably add that it also needs a good bit of stability in the underlying business. Some areas of the Financial Sector have business processes that have remained pretty constant over the years, and applications serving these can live for a long time too. Do some good analysis, listen to your users and implement a stable solution and it will hang around! All we have to do now is figure out how to establish a regular revenue stream 😉
I’m heading off to another customer later on to do some maintenance on another “mature” application. Both prove to me that whatever you do you have to have a stable application that helps people to do their jobs. Then you can decide how “usable” or attractive it looks. Proper usability will help all different kinds of users to do their job in the most efficient way possible, but there is a threshold that can be passed where IT goes a bit far and bells and whistles take over. But deliver an application that doesn’t work, doesn’t do the job, or is unstable and you will have lots of upset.