Patents

We're entering the decade of the developer

IT professionals were the heroes of recent decades when they helped enable big productivity gains. The next decade will have a new set of heroes: Developers. Learn why.

The major productivity gains of late 1990s and early 2000s were powered by the spread of information technology throughout organizations of all sizes. And it made IT professionals invaluable. However, the technology world remains in the midst of a relentless transformation and the changes sweeping the industry over the next decade will make developers, not IT pros, the new superstars.

We shouldn't forget that the innovations we now take for granted have streamlined business communications and commerce in big way. I'm talking about PCs on every desk, computer networks for file and printer sharing, email, shared calendars, and ultimately the Web . These innovations gave a turbo boost to existing companies and spawned the rise of nimble new companies that were able to run circles around the incumbents in many industries.

These 1990s innovations made nearly all organizations deeply dependent on new technologies and they hired IT professionals in droves in order to troubleshoot problems, train employees how to use the new digital tools, and to "keep the world running," as it were.

But that revolution is over. The technologies are deployed. The users are trained. The data centers are built. In recent years, no new IT innovations have arisen that can transform businesses the way corporate networks or email groupware or the Web did a decade ago. Nearly everything IT is doing now is tweaking and incremental upgrades to existing technologies.

Worse, the new tech trends that are arising often adapt and iterate faster than traditional IT departments can handle. Take Web applications and smartphones for example. The product and upgrade life cycles are so short that IT's time-tested procedures (test, harden, and deploy) leave IT in a position of rolling out stuff that is already outdated by the time they rubber-stamp it for employee use.

That's why many employees have started using their own laptops, smartphones, and Web apps to get work done -- sometimes clandestinely -- and it's why many companies have reduced the size of their IT departments. Some, such as author Nicholas Carr, have even predicted the demise of IT altogether.

TechRepublic recently asked its CIO Jury to weigh in on the future of the IT department and the verdict was mixed, with half thinking IT will continue to shrink and the other half thinking all boats will rise as technology becomes even more embedded in modern organizations.

I tend to side with the shrinkers, with the exception of a few industries such as health care that have traditionally lagged in IT innovation and are now quickly catching up (a phenomenon borne out in the comments from the CIO Jury poll). But, that won't last forever.

Why? Many computer products have become so cheap that it's often easier to replace than to repair. Plus, IT services have become highly commoditized. There are plenty of technicians and administrators to fill up the labor pool (unlike the IT labor shortage a decade ago), and there are plenty of consultants who can fill in the gaps when needed. The really good IT professionals will still cost you a pretty penny, but they're worth it because they can make your organization more efficient or innovative, or both.

The other factor is expectations. Now that workers have been using this stuff for over a decade, they just expect it to work. There's less tolerance than ever for downtime or buggy systems, especially when companies have outsourced it to service providers who promise best-of-breed experts on the clock 24/7/365. But, even when companies have an expensive in-house IT department that has been hired to make everything run like clockwork, they don't tolerate interruptions.

IT is now a utility. And increasingly, it's just a utility that gets you to your apps

Applications have always been king -- to an extent. It was apps that decided the winner of the PC wars of the 1980s, empowering IBM and then Microsoft to victories over Apple.

But today's app environment is different. It's faster. It's more incremental. It's multi-platform. It's more device-agnostic.  And it's shifting more of the power in the tech industry away from those who deploy and support apps to those who build them. Oh, and did I mention that it's easier to get started, so there's also a lot more competition?

This new app model began in smartphones, with the App Store for Apple's mobile OS, but it has spread to other mobile platforms such as Android and more recently to netbooks and tablets as well. And it's only a matter of time before it spreads to desktop, Web, and enterprise apps, which will each get their own nuanced versions of app stores.

It will be especially interesting to see how well really big software packages can adapt and get more modular, and possibly embrace open standards so that data can flow more easily between best-of-breed apps and modules. But, however it plays out, the momentum behind this app model is too great for it not to affect traditional software packages and software implementation methods.

It's a simple equation. When there's less tech support, there's a lot more emphasis on apps that just work. And the new app model forces developers to make apps that can deliver immediate value to users, otherwise they'll get passed over for the next app.

This breeds a survival-of-the-fittest environment for developers, but make no mistake, there's never been a better time to be a developer.

In this environment, developers have tremendous opportunities for independence and creativity. Individual developers and small teams of developers (sometimes in concert with designers and project managers) can now build mini empires for themselves, thanks to the micropayment systems that allow one developer with a PayPal account to have virtually all of the infrastructure needed to start a consulting business.

Industrious developers can even work for a big company or an app development team as a day job and then moonlight as an independent developer with a few of his or her own apps that can potentially generate residual income. Meanwhile, experienced app developers can freelance for multiple clients and build a small consultancy by helping businesses of all sizes get into the app game.

For these developers, location matters less than ever, too. A developer with email, a Skype account, and a half-decent Web portfolio can typically find pretty good work, even from clients in remote locations. Plus, the tools for team collaboration over the Web are getting better all the time and will continue to break down geographic barriers.

The demand for developers is increasing because everyone wants an app now -- from Target to Allstate to Joe's Garage down the street. They started with mobile but we should expect this to spread to tablets, desktop widgets, and eventually TVs (once platforms like Android and iOS get embedded in the living room experience). Having a multi-platform app strategy will become standard procedure for new companies the way having a website is today.

The sweeping changes in the tech industry will continue to have unpredictable consequences and will produce new sets of winners and losers. Traditional IT roles are not going to go away, but they will be under increased pressure and are likely to become more concentrated in service providers. At the same time, developers are about to step into the spotlight. This is going to be their decade.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

129 comments
grosan.flaviu
grosan.flaviu

By looking at the history of most software giants, starting from it's early days to recent years, all have been founded by developers: facebook, google, apple, microsoft, twitter, etc. Unfortunately, for managers, they are a resource for the developer: keeps track of time. Sure, small companies see software as any other sort of production. But these companies are neither great, nor successful.

nigelmin
nigelmin

Development skills are now 10-a-penny. India and China have flooded the market. The developer is not the man who will make the money, it is the businessman who has the idea and funds it. Hourly rates for developers has plummeted and will continue to. It is the time of the project manager....

stephen
stephen

I'm sorry but I just don't see what possible App 'Joe???s Garage down the street' could ever want that isn't already on his desktop!

asem2k
asem2k

I think we're heading towards a scenario where 'consumer' software will not need developers anymore (not on the immediate short term , but we're accelerating towards that) - There will be a closed loop of sophisticated end users using 'smarter' tools that generate their computing needs,with good exposure and delivery mechanisms (i.e. the Web) . Developers are benevolent enough to write software that will eventually replace them for the larger share of the market . So wide-spread , adaptable general-purpose software will be a product of business users directly - Making useful functional software will become everybody's game - no coding required. I've seen the future - much less developers than today , with most doing specific-purpose software packages and infrastructural work (data manipulation,communication protocols , security...), consumer software will be consumer-created , not consumer driven . efff - programming career is already short , just like a professional athlete ,or a prostitute - The worst of it will be 10 years from now , there will be too many developers still around and too many power business users,tough times to come .It will eventually be corrected , as per my prophecy.

gabato
gabato

Ok... I hear ya but how do I stay in the game? I have been an IT Pro (Sys Admin / Engineer) for nearly 15 years. I have an IT degree but there were only a hand full of programming courses. I have several IT certifications (CISSP, MCSE, MCITP, ITIL, etc) but none directly related to hands-on coding. The most "real" coding that I have done is writing scripts. I have considered going back to school to get a software engineering degree and pursue the PMP. Where I start in order to stay relevant?

TomMariner
TomMariner

It's real and the reason is that "developers" who used to be parochial, be hidden in basement rooms, and hump out C++ code, has morphed into those who manage the development process. In ten years we have gone from "waterfall" where wiser IT heads and system analysts dictate detailed, immutable specs to an "agile" scenario where those entering lines of code meet with marketing literally on a daily basis and demonstrate their products frequently. This methodology, which because it is successful has many parents, each guru with their own cute name for how we develop, has dramatically shrunk delivery times and raised quality. That same philosophy has pervaded many organizations where instead of being a title, the "head of IT" is a real manager that has to be quick on his or her feet to actually manage -- the interplay of developers and product owners. Wait, it gets worse -- in many cases those creating the product may not even work for them and ... the ground changes every day thanks to the likes of Steve Jobs. So yeah, it is the day of the developer, but if managers get with the program, there is also a bright future for those IT execs who embrace change and demonstrate they can deliver the amazing results that our present tools and developers make possible.

j2ee
j2ee

This text is wrong: "But that revolution is over. The technologies are deployed. The users are trained. The data centers are built. In recent years, no new IT innovations have arisen that can transform businesses the way corporate networks or email groupware or the Web did a decade ago. Nearly everything IT is doing now is tweaking and incremental upgrades to existing technologies." Because there is much more to add. It's just beyond your mental abilities. This is common mistake in technology...

ac567
ac567

It IS a good time to be a developer. We still are in a pre-industrial age of coding, and the shorter lifecycles and continuing poor product quality of (most) apps will create an increasing demand for good, new... and quick. Quick is what will keep many jobs onshore, people close to markets and customers will always have a niche against the wannabe industrial-style offshore coding factories. But to suggest all other IT is in decline is just plain unsupportable. Every year I've been in IT (30 years now) I've heard people promising to cut unit costs year-on-year... or maybe after the bubble of investment. Never happens. Even when the technologies shrink in price, like storage, people just want even more of it. We still buy, steal or get gifted technological tools that are plain awful to use. Usability has a long, long way to go before technology delivers the promises of three decades ago. Meanwhile everything we see, think and hear can be digitised. So there's still a long way to go before it is, or even could be, but the trend is relentless. But we still have cludgy, buggy, unintegrated, incompatible, form-factor locked-in tools. We need even MORE IT system/database administrators, business analysts, integrators, architects and most of all coders. Which it is why everyone in IT who wants to ride the dragon has a rosy future to look to.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

It would be a horrible world if everything was running Android or iOS.

JeanHuguesRobert
JeanHuguesRobert

I am a software developer. Yes, technology empowers me. I am not going to be an employee again. I am going to start a little business, with 500 millions potential customers. It's very basic. Every developer could have done it, it's a simple wiki for everybody, soon in beta, if 0.1% of the users pay for it, the 99.9% get it for free, that's because it is so cheap to produce, it's called SimpliWiki, http://simpliwiki.com Note: I am 44, I knew this would eventually happen, computers are amplifiers, doubling their prower every 18 months, per Moore's law.

nav022001
nav022001

I AM ON TECHNOLOGY HEELS TO GET IT DONE FOR THE IT RRRRRRRS GO IT

wfairley
wfairley

Jason, this editorial essay presents a short-sighted vision of the future of IT, and it over-simplifies the necessary considerations our colleagues must factor into their career planning decisions. Researchers continue to expand IT in concept and application. Before us lies a decade of exponential innovation, and IT professionals who maintain competency in the specialty of their choice will continue to realize success and achievement. Career planning and professional development will assist the authentic IT professional in reaching his or her professional and personal goals; I am interested in reading editorial essays that help me grow, and help me manage my stress. Woody Fairley CCNA, MCITP, CCP

kgc
kgc

One of the few benefits of being old is that I have seen and heard all this before. In the '80s when I was IT service manager for an automotive parts group we had a rash of IT freelancers in the company who bought PCs and ZXs and goodness knows what out of their petty cash on the basis we were too slow to meet their business needs. Trouble is, as soon as data were lost because they broke or the application failed we were expected to fix them, which we didn't. And more recently I was tasked to sort out the plethora of unofficial web sites set up by untrained enthusiasts in the user departments. One was found when the IP address that the user had spoofed was legitimately allocated to a network printer, causing the web site on a PC under a desk in Manchester to fail. Again we were held responsible for the failure to produce management accounts and again we refused to help. This article makes the common error of confusing technology with service. Yes, the technology is comparatively cheap to buy; the problem is information technology is ?deferred design?; it is only useful when the application is added. The problem with this is that users are unreasonable and insist that the technology continues to function. There is a risk to the business if the technology fails. In my experience too many ?developers? have a habit of throwing some half considered development over the wall for IT service to sort out and they are in the pub celebrating before the problems start. Somebody has to evaluate the acceptable level of risk, then ensure that the backup services are in place to alleviate the risk to that level. Where I come from this is the IT department. This may not be how the CIOs who were surveyed see themselves but if they do not choose the technology and manage the ongoing risk of using it then somebody else will have to, and they will be doing IT's job when they should be doing their own.

jmrtrainer
jmrtrainer

What do you guys think is the development tool that we should learn?

HeadScratcher7
HeadScratcher7

Just check out the NY Times link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/business/economy/07jobs.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th First the IT and "programmer" jobs go over. Then they become sources of innovation and drag the high level jobs with them overseas. Worse, it's not just India any more but Russia and China adding more and more highly educated talent to their job pools. Now Americans get to live more cheaply off overseas goods, but even that doesn't work if there's not enough jobs in the states anymore. I'm afraid all I can see right now is the downward spiral for the US. They don't hire entry level talent any more because those jobs are easy to get done overseas. College students go into other professions because they either see or fear the lack of jobs in IT and Engineering. I see lots of companies asking for Developers with 10+ years of experience, but nothing less will do. So an entire generation of IT and Developers will disappear and then Corporate America will be forced to outsource the remaining jobs too. So the future looks bleak from my standpoint if you live in the US. Best bet is to find a job requiring a government security clearance or perhaps Healthcare -professions resistant to outsourcing. Or skip most of the tech skills entirely and focus on acquiring project management skills so you can find a job coordinating the outsource teams. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying all the jobs will go overseas. Many will stay in the US and employ those willing to make minimum wage -at least until the standard of living rises around the world and finally eliminates most pools of cheap labor -say in 50 to 100 years.

ashepard
ashepard

As USB expands PnP (plug and play) between systems the classic birds nest of cables and switches fade. WiFi replaces LAN/ TokenRing/ DECNet wires. People buy computer hardware for entertainment to watch ipTV or listen to MP3s, etc. While the hardware can self assemble itself, the data can not. Developers and programmers are critical to conjouring up the data poured into the black cauldron of laptop or blade server. Programmers, D.B.A.s, security and privacy experts have, IMO, growing work. Why? Who is happy with just their data? Its much better when computers share/exchange or work with each other ("deja vu"?). As Bill Gates said "A computer without an OS is a 'brick' ." With so many new 'bricks' comming out there will be lots to develop and build upon. "Yea, there is an app for that" - comming soon ;-)

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

to judge the viability of developing these much ballyhooed "apps on devices"? I came across a few numbers recently ( Aug 28,2010 )...here's the link to the page: http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/08/28/apple.passes.quarter.million.app.mark/ Here's an older page: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2009/05/15/pushing-the-app-store-price-envelope/ Interesting, 97 percent of apps on Apples App Store are priced uner $10 US, and the overall average price is $2.67. Apple gets 30 percent, leaves the developer $1.87. Without any statitics for actual number of downloads, one can only make a guess. Let's say your app is "average", and does pretty good and gets 10,000 downloads. Your "gross" is $18,700, out of which you take your cost to develop the app, testing time, bug-tracking, updates...doesn't really make for a "get rich quick" idea, does it? To make matters worse, roughly 25% of apps are free, and 67% are priced less than $1, so there's a good chance your competition might be "good enough" to bite into your sales, or at least coerce you to lower your price from the average to $1, then you'll get only 70 cents per download. Now, 70 cents x 10,000 (since Apple keeps 30 percent!) and for the year you just earned $7000! I'm just not convinced...these types of numbers mean you'll have to develop what, like 7 or more apps just to earn a somewhat reasonable living? (edit-typo error on $7000 above)

osgcurt
osgcurt

Your late again on this topic. Aside from what the industry tried to do by keep skill sets seperate, all the techs that started out in the industry and are still working were always developers. True, they were slowed down by technology users that did not want to learn and by bad software, hardware and security. But, the whole point of the "anything machine" is that you can make it do what you want with code rather than wait for another version for a year. Catch up dude. /:>

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

What about the new technologies that are to be deployed?

Chief Alchemist
Chief Alchemist

It's about architects & visionaries. Please note: I do not mean architects in the traditional IT sense (e.g., systems architecture). I'm speaking more broadly, at a business, if not social, level. People who can see more than one or two pieces more than one or two feet in front of them and come up with a solution to meet that need (or need to be) in the market. True, some of these might be "developers" but that is their means. It's not what makes them successful in and of itself. On the other hand, the one trick pony types (e.g., "generic" programmers) on the opposite side of this coin will continue to be treated as a commodity. As they should be. Their only option is to become value adders that are able to differentiate - both their own talents as well as the brands they work for.

econtrerasd
econtrerasd

Even tough there are many developers coming from China and India that doesn't mean that all of them are good. Experience is an asset in developers and newly graduated developers from anywhere aren't that great. Of course good PMs should know that, and at least in my experience successful PMs are always backed up by great developers.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

and change is part of the business model. So if you had this super duper no developers needed software, what are they going to sell you next? What do you need a version 2 for? If saturate the market and then go bust was the way forward we'd still be driving around in Model Ts. The next point is how complex would this super duper application be. How much would you have to know about it in order to make it meet the current needs? It would just be a change of language wouldn't it? People have been trying to sell this particular panacea since the first 2GL came out, programmers became programmer/analysts which then got renamed developers. Programming didn't go away it just changed. In ten years time maybe we'll be AI psychiatrists but we'll still be about... Programmng / analysing / developng is a skill not a tool.

nowagil
nowagil

when will people understand that software development has nothing to do with industrial production. Sigh.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

last at most two years, so have a fallback plan...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

While I disagree with the premise, if IT leaders start letting developers have some real traction in the industry, I wouldn't look that particular gift horse in the mouth.... Most of my stress comes from not being allowed to do the job properly, and of course being blamed for the result.....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The other is confusing an enthusiastic amateur knocking up a data island, with an enthusiastic professional trying to add a new node to the IT system. The only disadvantage is that they are amateurs so it can be managed by employing a professional to facilite and oversee, avoiding the 'erm obvious pitfalls that mean to do our job profesionally we have to say no. I got this instituted at one place after some poor fool asked me to attached his data to the main product database and he hadn't collected the product identifier, which did make things a tad difficult. Traditionally IT being under resourced is often a bottleneck on getting things done unless someone important OKs the funding, and that's why individual departments go off on one. The need is real though, trying to stop it, or continual saying no is a waste of effort, so the best bet is to help them help us.

gypkap
gypkap

...that software that hasn't been carefully designed and thoroughly tested can (and probably will) still break, especially when the managers won't let you test the changes properly before putting those changes into production. Unfortunately you're right.

Justin James
Justin James

Here's what I wrote about it a few months ago: "iOS development by the numbers Steve Jobs is trying to convince folks that developing for the iOS ecosystem (iOS is the new name for the OS that runs iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) is a financial winner. His numbers, though, only appeal to those who are mathematically challenged. He claims $1 billion has been paid to app developers, and he says that there are 250,000 apps out there. That comes out to a paltry $4,000 per app. Sounds like a lot? Not exactly. Four grand is decent money if you spend a few nights and weekends on it, or if you are monetizing a labor of love. It certainly isn?t ?quit my day job money? even if the ?day job? is flipping burgers. They are about to sell the 100 millionth device. That means that each iOS device generates a ?whopping? $10 for app developers. Wee. Who cares how many iOS users have their credit cards stored and ready to spend, when they are spending a mere $10 on apps per device? Oh, and the $60 million in ad inventory doesn?t look so impressive when you realize that it is less than $1 per device. Jobs? numbers may impress some of the so-called ?analysts? out there, but I can do enough basic math to know better."

mbrown
mbrown

We train users every few years...it doesn't work. They can deal with instructions that tell them to follow step 1, step 2, etc., but anything out of the ordinary throws them. Maybe as younger people enter the workforce that will change, our younger employees do seem more willing to try and use Google for help. At the very least reboot before you call!

jfcl1
jfcl1

I agree with Chief Alchemist, more than hackers, we need software architects with vision having also quality and maintenance concerns. Even if ready to play software applications are more and more developped for handy hardware, they should work smoothly for a while and then be maintained and evolve. JF retired software engineer

adornoe
adornoe

no one else has noticed except me (up till now, of course). I agree that it's the visionaries, the people with ideas and who are at the same time, skilled to get their ideas implemented, who will make the best developers. The app creators will be a dime a dozen and the majority of them be struggling to make ends meet in their lives. There are still many ideas waiting for the visionaries and for the entrepreneurs. If those visionaries also have the right skills to get their projects started or completed, then it is they who will be the ultimate developers.

wfairley
wfairley

I agree with you Tony, good IT Leaders empower their employees, and good IT leaders develop their employees to also be good IT leaders, in a perfect world. Woody Fairley CCNA, MCITP, CCP

ruby.otero
ruby.otero

i love programming with related to DB.. so hardware system coder/programmer.. nah!!

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

1.) That's only one ecosystem 2.) We're still at an extremely early stage of the smartphone market so the numbers have barely started scaling

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Our efforts in these regards though are judged cost ineffective. So it's irrelevant. Q So should I write a unit test for this? QQ How long will it take? A Maybe later if we've got time. ?????? !!! For those who say we should write the unit test first, I agree, but you are teling the wrong bloke! The alchemist's point in the bin..... Businesses might say they want quality, what they do, well different ball game altogether. If they haven't got the people who could do it given they were to practice what they preach. Well maybe they should have hired one instead of some cheap H1b, fresh grad or out of work cookie cutter.... If you want a real pointer, look at how maintenance coders are generally percieved in the industry. Guys (or gurls) inimtately familiar with at least definitions of what isn't maintainable code. Not to mention the art of writing it is very low value in academia.

BorisdaBadd
BorisdaBadd

I could probably write a book (not here of course!) about what really ails our benighted profession. Some people have even encouraged me to do it. Well, maybe... When I was active in the field, I was called an Artificial Intelligence Architect or Adept or Witch Doctor or worse Time Waster. When I taught in college classrooms, I tried to instill the idea that product release (aka "Smart App") should follow app testing, app coding, app documentation, development of app design specifications, and inspiration (also determination of NEED for app) using a top-down approach pretty much in the reverse order of the general steps I just mentioned. In the "real" world, the faster a person in development could type lines of code, the more productive that person was determined to be. Bugs, design flaws and logic errors were relegated to the "maintenance" programmers who were left to clean up the mess. It helped if the folks doing the repairs had strong psychic abilities because documentation was faulty, flawed, spotty and/or non-existent, and it was on the head of the fixer to come up with something which at least appeared to solve the current problem. If the fix created new problems (all of which remained undocumented, but which had copious documentation re: how much time was spent, who spent the time, etc.) which would later require more maintenance, the term describing the outcome was something like "job security." I am not trying to be cynical. Nor am I on a mission to point my finger and blame anyone in particular or in general either, for two reasons. It wouldn't help in any way. It is already too late for casting aspersions. We are building machines which boggle the mind - well, they boggle my mind, but perhaps now that I am an old fart, I boggle more easily. Smart phones? When I was growing up in a small Pennsylvania farm town, we had "party lines." The whole community shared the same phone line, and the common courtesy then was to pick up the receiver, listen to see if someone was using the line, hang up softly if they were, or dial your outgoing call if the line was free. OK, so I'm a dinosaur. Excuse me while I rearrange my scales. I am not giving an arbitrary "history lesson." I am trying to make the point that in terms of our attitudes regarding what we are about and how and why we "do it," we are sort of like stone age people who have been given nuclear submarines and orders to sail off and find the New World without directions for use or the reasons why the "RED" buttons (no pun intended to those old enough to know who he was) should never be pressed - ever. We have been prisoners of Moore's Law even before Moore discovered it. More, faster, greater, more powerful, think about consequences later (if ever), faster, more! If there is a bottom to this hole we're digging, I sincerely hope to be in the next phase of life before we get there. To put an end to this: Try to imagine what the ancient pyramids all over the world would be like if our ancestors had simply started slapping stones together without any sort of well-considered thought fueling the ideas for the design of the edifices they were building. Even so, not all turned out as their designers originally intended. Also please consider that there is much more to mark the difference between "Snake Oil" and a real pharmaceutically effective medicine than the bottles they come in, or the boxes in which the bottles were packaged.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

to generate and own a new concept for the market in terms of an application, I guarantee the rules would be changed immediately to make sure you were the last....

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I agree that we are at an early stage, however I do not think it is as early as many seem to portray. Apple has had their app store for over 3 years, a long time in tech. Android is just starting, but seems to want to follow similar route. Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian and others have had all kinds of apps available in software repositories other than some "company site", and despite some peoples dire warnings of doom and disaster by using "non-approved" app stores to obtain apps, I don't remember too many tales of actual malware being spread. Perhaps the freedom to release your works yourself if you desire, or through other "mobile friendly sites", like the old shareware days (remember those?) would be of more benefit, allowing the developer to choose how their apps are delivered. If your app is good, and ZDNet wants to include a shareware version, to use an example, that could result in great exposure and potential sales. Maybe it's time to drop the "App Store" model and do something better.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I see how that wafer can be a disappointment to a conoisseur of fresh meats, a bit stale eh? But that's cannibalism, I thought you meant hashish-eating ]:)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

So they were Nizari Ismailis! Takes guts, turning those guys down!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Had to buy books, spend time in drafty buildings, put money on plates. I could have lived with that. Ritual canabilism I drew the line at though. I prefer my meat fresh. :D

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

was an offer to save my soul from teh eternal fires of hell, so not replying became a habit from day one.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Prime ministers are a pain in the butt... but TR private messages can be like tiny little trojans all by themselves, as replying in almost any way will reveal your email to the complete strangers.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

According to your bio, you have no tools, or skills and have acomplished nothing. No point in asking you anything is there, whereas I get PM'ed by complete strangers asking for help, on things in my bio! Coming up with the big idea is a very rare attribute. That's why we notice them and call them big. When you do come up with one, job one is to see if or how well it can be realised within the constraints set by the environment. At that point you can say to yourself, ah that bits easy and drag someone who once played with lego off the street. Or you can have a look about for a chap who at least worked wth Cheop's chief engineer. Your idea, your choice.... Doesn't matter to me, a doom clone called Purple Doom which looks like Doom but is purple, wasn't all that big an idea anyway..... Choosing to deliver it on Lynx could be seen to make it challenge, but.... PS anytime you feel like debating the point I was making instead of attempting to ridicule my non-pointy hair style, feel free.

Chief Alchemist
Chief Alchemist

Tony, I don't mean to single you out but your profile/bio on TR is a perfect example. It's a Who's Who of "platforms" from the last 20-25 years some of which don't even matter in 2011. Yet there's not a single mention of one business solution, one business accomplishment, one stroke of biz creative genius. If you (and I'm saying you collectively) don't want to "just lay bricks" then you need to stop acting like a bricklayer. (With all dues respect to bricklayers of course :) Bricks are irrelevant. It's the resulting business buildings that matter. Yet IT continues to obsess with bricks. Anyone can laybricks. Not everyone can have the vision AND skill to build the Pyramids. It's time for IT to smell the coffee already. The Business isn't going to change. Wake up IT! So it's time for IT to change. Stop talking about brick. Start talking the buildings (i.e., solutions).

gypkap
gypkap

Some of what "they" want can be done if the software shop has a library of well documented, well designed software packages (such as a Quicksort routine) that are actually designed to be re-used. Unfortunately, management often thinks that any bit of code can be re-used, even it was a quick hack that was never designed to be re-used.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

unsuccessful, pile of rubble, 2000 dead slaves, very irritated Pharoah. The Pharoah now out of slaves and pyramid made sure he was never heard of again, ever. He did not thank him for reducing his staffing costs or agree that the pile of rubble was functionally equivalent to a pyramid, or cut his losses and pay off said incompetent with the gold he was going to have his Dad's coffin made out of.... Reward failure and you succeed at doing so....

BorisdaBadd
BorisdaBadd

We (the People) finally had to "bail out" the American Auto Industry in large, but certainly not the whole!, part because the prevailing attitude held by management at the highest level went something like: If we build it, they'll buy it - period. If I am "preaching" to the choir, how many of us remember how difficult getting seat belts installed as standard equipment in a new car really was. How much more difficult was the task to convince drivers (i.e., the end users) to buckle up for their own safety - even if they were only about to move the vehicle a few feet, park it and get out? Today, the bells and whistles still go off when the engine starts and the driver's belt is not buckled, because many people still haven't learned enough basic physics to realize that there is no such thing as a drive to short to necessitate taking the proper precautions. What the folks in marketing (especially, since they enjoy the major influence with senior management, boards of (mis)direction, and (lest we forget,) the all-important stock holders (the pockets from which flow start-up capital, our "toys," etc.) tend to forget, ignore, or fail to understand is - before you sell the "candy," a factory must be designed and built and tested for ability to produce product in sanitary conditions while maximizing output, ability to ship and deliver, and all the other factors which must be considered in order to avoid constant FDA audits and inspections, ruinous lawsuits, and potential stacks of dead bodies rotting in the sun. As producers of "software" we are at least once removed from the kind of dirty hands-on responsibilities one finds in the development, production, sales and distribution of a simple stick of chewing gum. Those who somehow control or provide our inspiration (carrots, sticks, chains and whips) now have people saying, "I'm a PC, and Windows blah was my idea." Right. Part of my diatribe has its roots in the way IT, Software Development, Maintenance, and Support have evolved as a sort of mystical "priesthood" who never really communicated with the "end users." The users were - and in many respects still are - the poor devils who are supposed to make productive use of the software installed on their machines, and whose butts are on the line if for some reason they don't or can't (never mind won't) "make it do what it's supposed to do.". Now the pendulum is swinging back to (it is hoped) a the region of "New Ideas." And so much of our information resources, assets and efforts have been invested, wasted and will be lost forever if we fail to "get it right" this time. Will we be given the time we need to get it right? Well... In an atmosphere where productivity is measured in the sound and frequency of keystrokes, and people with great typing skills and lousy or no critical reasoning ability have been raised high on our Olympian mounts as the true heroes of our "mystical" craft, I harbor serious doubt. The machines become ever more capable, swift, and ubiquitous, so the weakness isn't there. Our greatest problem continues to be the conflict between the ways we are expected to produce and maintain new software, and the realities so many of us know are necessary to achieve the desired results.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Programmers / developers / software engineers / solution arcitects wanted reuse, IDEs and other tools so they could concentrate on adding value. Business realised with our productivity enhancers cookie cutters culd churn out applications in the same time as we would have done it properly, but they cost less. You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get. But the latter is after the fool, who made this decision got their bonus and or promotion. A poor workman blames their tools....

Chief Alchemist
Chief Alchemist

There is a difference, and yes this does have to do with that difference. The issue being there are far too many (non-proactive) programmer with the title of Developer. With that title comes expectations - on both side. The biz expects participation, understanding and the ability to anticipate and add value. But the programmer expects the pay and respect of Developer without being able to deliver the business goods that a developer should be able to deliver. With the title comes responsibility and accountability. IMHO, there are far too many developers who believe they just programmers with better pay and a flashier title. That's not the case, is it?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They want quality, for free, and yesterday, if not the day before. What they tell us they want, and what they tell us to do are somewhat at variance.... We develop within the constraints set by the business. That constraint is good enough. Until they have to compete on quality, it will stay that way. None of that has anything to do with a definition of programmer and developer. If prgrammers are still about, it would be the systems analyst / designer tearing their hair out saying WTF, and the programmer would just be doing his comb over. Not being funny but I've heard this schtick before. The guy who was spouting it, told me refactoring was just developers f'ing about and we should have got it right the first time anyway.

Chief Alchemist
Chief Alchemist

No doubt there are many talented individuals out there. However, they are: 1) Only as good as the idea being built 2) Only as good as their understanding of that idea. My point is, that too often those doing the coding don't *really* understand the biz needs. Nor do they attempt to understand. Therefore, they are unable to anticipate, add value, etc. The traditional reactive developer is going to be no match for a proactive business driven contemporary developer. Developer is a state of mind, it's not a title. Also, there's a difference between a programmer and a developer. Until developer is applied correctly and uniformly there are going to be too many programmers expecting developer respect and pay. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being a programmer. I was one once :) But years on the job has NOTHING to do with becoming a developer. Developer should be position that's earned.

tbmay
tbmay

...you're preaching to the choir here. The mad dash forward, to heck with the consequences, nature of what all IT people have to do is really pushed by non-IT people. I mean, how often do we tell our clients, customers, users, bosses, we need more time to get things right? To make sure we don't have hidden showstoppers. Be it bugs, security issues....whatever. More importantly, how often do they listen? How often do they consider our warnings nothing more than us being unwilling to do what they want...for whatever reason? There's not a shortage of people who are skilled enough to produce shoddy work quickly any more. And since the demanders of this work often either don't know the difference between good work and bad or, probably just as often, don't care, I'd say the fellow who wants to take the time to do quality work might have a tough time earning a living at it. Cheap, fast, and good. Pick two.

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