March 14, 2007

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Open Application Lifecycle Mangement - The Journey Begins

A time is fast approaching when, thanks to the likes of Skype and Vonage, everyone will expect to get their phone calls for free. When this day comes, phone companies will have to make their money from other products and services. They'll have to innovate and find other ways to add value for their customers, because the act of sending an audio data stream from one computer to another computer isn't going to cut the commercial mustard in 2017.

The smart phone companies are already catching on, and some are even helping to drive this process of evolution. In 2017, a mobile phone will be something you watch TV on, or write emails on, or pay for your groceries with, or project business presentations from. It will be a computer - fully-fledged and many times more powerful than the one sitting on your desktop right now. Any company who still sees mobile phones as "things you make mobile phone calls from" isn't going to be around in 2017.

Similarly, anyone who thinks that you will be able to make money selling coding tools in 2011 is in for a shock. Thanks to Eclipse, JBoss and their ilk, we now expect to get full-featured IDE's, applications servers, build tools, tests tools and all manner of things absolutely free.

The smart vendors are already branching out and looking for other ways to add value for developers. Application Lifecycle Management describes the - usually integrated - tool sets we can use to manage and measure our development projects from cradle to grave. Companies like Rational were pioneers in this space, with tool suites that covered requirements, analysis and design, change and configuration management and testing.

Having seen how this approach had succeeded in other engineering disciplines - I used to work in computer-aided electronic engineering - I was utterly convinced it was the the way forward for software development. It seems I wasn't alone. Now we see ALM solutions coming from most of the major development tool vendors: IBM (who bought Rational), Borland (who bought Together) and Microsoft (who have invested heavily in this area in recent years). No doubt other IDE vendors will follow soon.

And this is perhaps a first move towards something much more valuable - Open Application Lifecycle Management. This has already happened in the electronics industry. I recall how impressed we all were when we saw a demonstration of one company's simulation tools seamlessly integrated into our design tools, so we could probe our circuit boards and get all sorts of feedback about design quality with almost zero effort.

Open Application Lifecycle Management is old news in other engineer disciplines

Right now, we lag far, far behind the electronics industry in terms of the maturity of our tools. It's not just that the individual tools are clunky - which they are - but that they don't play well together. Anyone who's wrestled with modeling tools integrated in an IDE will know what I mean. We have a long way to go.

But I'm heartened to see that the journey has at least begun...
Posted 14 years, 4 months ago on March 14, 2007