Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An interesting exchange

I wrote this in response to a customer email, but it seemed like something that I could put here:

On 14/10/2009, at 9:15 AM, ... wrote:

Morning Steve,

Saw this article and thought it was interesting. http://www.javaworld.com/community/node/3530


From: Steve

It is interesting. I think it's hard to get the tone right when you're dismissive of agile zealots (who it's hard to agree with, almost by definition), without being dismissive of agile in general. Having been involved with agile for a long time I have a nice clear centre that tells me that agile should be adaptive, but I've also seen the problems that come from being too adaptive too early.

I totally agree that the process for one or two really talented, motivated people is different from the process you use for larger groups/applications. Alistair Cockburn has been very explicit about this in his writing about the Crystal family of methodologies, and Kent Beck has touched on the same subject from a different perspective when he wrote his blogs about "Flight of the Startup". The hard part for most of us is dispassionately looking our our team and ourselves and changing process over time. It's easy to err on the side of too much, too soon or too little, too late, but very hard to judge it just right.

On the "where's the Access of today", that's a question that we've thrown around within Cogent as well. My personal opinion, shared by some others in the company but not everyone, is that we've gone backwards over the last 10 years in productivity and our ability to deliver things quickly. Our capabilitity has increased - we can deliver bigger, more sophisticated applications - but in the process everything seems to have become harder.

I agree with the poster who mentioned the combination of Ruby on Rails and Heroku - that's the combination that I'm using for my personal projects now. I think it's the combination that's the winner - there are other frameworks that to me look more promising than RoR but with each of them I have to manage my production environment myself (for some of them even setting up a production environment is a challenge). Heroku takes care of that and make deployment as simple as possible.

On the OS X desktop MacRuby looks very promising, leveraging Inteface Builder with the power of Ruby. I don't play in the Windows space, so I don't have any idea what the possibilities are there.



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