2010/03/18

Fancy technologies

What makes technologies look good for the first sight? Is it a great demo showing an easy-to-implement solution? What makes you to choose a given technology? A nice graphics, open source, wide community?

Well, I have major interest in Java related technologies so my opinion may be skewed by that. Recently, I felt for some technology (let's call it Technology X) and I chose it for my project. It has the following attributes that I appreciated (not in any particular order):

  • open source
  • active community
  • fancy demos
  • great ratio of source lines/work done
  • supporting tools
  • usable documentation
  • some books by known authors exist
  • fresh post "bleeding edge" technology

Especially the last attribute was a problem. I usually wait several months before upgrading my Linux distribution to hear from the community about major problems. I waited for a year after relatively wide adoption of Technology X. Obviously it was not enough and my decision proved to be a big mistake.

What might look fancy at the beginning could become a real nightmare. My problem was that Technology X was well prepared for many standard usage scenarios keeping the above list of attributes valid. When I started looking at some specific problems I got into a trouble. And what makes your project exceptional? A specific behavior that nobody else has, in my opinion.

To make the long story short, I ended up dwelling in the Technology X's source code to realize that there are well-known bugs and design flaws that were blockers to my project.

What makes me think of this story was another blog post of a new superb glorious Technology Y that can become a panacea to your projects. As a proof of all the positive features authors demonstrated a Getting started example of nothing too fancy, but enough to give you an idea of...

But realistically, it is possible that later the authors abandon the project and no other blog will be published. It is not likely to see a blog post describing what is not possible with Technology Y. So please, before you write a Getting started blog/article, always make sure that you have tried advanced features of that technology as well.

Eventually, I used Technology Z for my project. It was a complete restart of the development phase. This time I was more cautious. I realized that with the right technology I can start doing some real work early in the technology studying phase. The documentation is precise, yet relatively short. Technology Z has a great support in my favorite IDE. I have control of what and how is done - the technology is flexible in allowing me to choose an appropriate level of granularity in different parts of my project depending on my goals.

I couldn't believe it. Technology Z offers me the same functionality as Technology X. I do not have to write any significantly bigger amount of code or configuration files. I can implement new features in my project in approximately 20% of the original time needed with Technology X. Long live Technology Z.

1 comment:

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