• Subject: RE: What About Price vs. Performance?
  • From: "Pantzopoulos, Mike" <mikepantzopoulos@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2001 20:26:33 -0400

Title: RE: What About Price vs. Performance?

Thanks for that joe. It brought a big smile to my face. It reminded me of a story.
Back in the middle 80s I had this interesting contract to rewrite a PC program to be commercially viable.
The insurance company I'd contracted to had just given an accountant a million dollars to buy out an Insurance Broker 'system' he had 'developed'.

In essence he had discovered the BASIC interpreter and had managed to cobble together enough code to record Insurance business and print necesssary documentation and reports. Because he was one of the first,he'd managed to sell some 60 of these systems around Australia, but the task of maintenance was getting bigger and bigger. Each time a client would call with a problem, he'd look at the source of their system and find the solution. He'd then ring them back and tell them to type 230 let a=x instead of 230 let a=y or some such. Basically he'd ended up with 60 different versions of his own system. It was a complete mess. I rewrote it as a compiled system and introduced the idea of sub-routines. And he got the million bucks!

I see the same thing happening again.
Every man and his dog who buys a copy of 'PCs for Dummies' thinks they can build an enterprise wide data processing system. Yeah, I got a copy of VB 4 and had a screen up in 30 minutes and cloned some code to make the screen do something. It's all a bit like teenage magazines. Instant gratification without the substance. Anyone can do it!

The PC world is full of interpretive code. Just keep changing it till it works and then secure that version as the system.

The technology turns over so fast, very few people can master it before it's out-of-date.
Perhaps it's time developers wore white coats and hung around in the glass enclosed computer rooms again?


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