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What would you choose?

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  • User profile image
    DevGeek

    So there is a standard discussion I seem to be having over and over amongst my programmer friends, (and by association threads here on Channel9) and wanted to get more widespread opinions on what people would choose.

    I admittedly am probably biased a bit, so looking for other views really I guess.

    (This is all hypothetical; no programmers were harmed dreaming this scenario up)

     

    Welcome to GenericLarge Corporation.

    There is a new requirement for a new internal company application (Line of Business application) to be written that will help us manage our GenericProducts better.

    We need this application to be up and working by the end of year. 

    It will have two main parts:

    1) Display information about GenericProducts (used by the majority of people)

    2) Maintain GenericProducts and create reports (used by the small subgroup  business owners of GenericProducts)

    This application will be accessed by approximately 5,000 people on our network (which spans USA, Canada, South America, and Australia) and they are all running Windows XP currently, but rolling out Windows 7 should happen by sometime next year.

    The current server infrastructure is primarily Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008 R2, but some Linux and Oracle exists on the fringes of the network.

    Everyone will be accessing this application from their desktop or laptop.

     

    So with this minimum of information, but the ability to choose how the application is developed, what would you write that application in and why?

  • User profile image
    kettch

    My first thought (even as a developer) is to write nothing and buy one of the many product management solutions on the market.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @kettch: That's no fun! Smiley

     

    I'd use MVC 4. It fits very nicely into CRUD applications.

  • User profile image
    Harlock123n​ew

    We have actually been presented with a very similar situation for real. Geographically separate user community, varied needs by each. Tiresome dealings with technology adoptions only to have the rug removed from beneath our feet. (IE Silverlight). Annoying problems with craptacular web interfaces that are different enough from browser to browser to cause problems....

    Then we learn about Cloud Paging... I can tell you we have written our last LOB application based solely on web technologies for its UI....

     

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , Harlock123n​ew wrote

    Then we learn about Cloud Paging... I can tell you we have written our last LOB application based solely on web technologies for its UI....

    Thanks for that!  Cloudpaging looks very, very interesting.

     

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    Large LoB applications can't be summed up in two bullet points. It takes a hundred bullet points just to begin to know what the needs are. That's why ketch said to buy an already built solution, since the question was so generic his solution was correct in my opinion.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @Harlequin: Unless you have really weird business processes, buying something and then customizing it to fit your needs may be the best course. many of these packages are so customizable that just about anything can be done.

    Sometimes the best option is to realize that your business processes are weird, and examine whether doing things differently than the rest of the world is really getting you any benefit.

    Developing a custom application can be attractive, but there's a lot more than just FILE>New Project... Will overhead of a properly planned and built system be worth the end result, or will you be saddled with a "good enough" system for the next 20 years? Also, can you afford the ongoing cost of maintenance and new features? Or, do you buy a mature and stable system and let somebody else worry about all of the development details.

  • User profile image
    DevGeek

    I guess I wanted to keep it that incredibly generic so that I didn't add my personal bias.  Maybe I overcorrected.

     

    So GenericBusinessUsers have said "Hey we can't find anything out there that does what we want because we are special, please write us something".

     

    So you look into the programming tool bag and pull out:

    ASP.NET MVC 4?

         (Single Page Application with associated javascript libraries?)

         (Straight up MVC?)

    Lightswitch (Silverlight or HTML)?

    WPF?

    Silverlight?

    SharePoint?

    Other options I didn't think of off the top of my head.

     

    I guess I'm really just trying to gauge what other developers working for GenericLargeCompanies are using in their apps these days.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    I guess I'm really just trying to gauge what other developers working for GenericLargeCompanies are using in their apps these days.

    All the above technologies, Winforms and Webforms included

  • User profile image
    fanbaby

    LOB, no graphics and animations? Easy: HTML4. No other sane option. Well, maybe xamarin (and C#).

    Now the only hard part is choosing the right libraries and modules out of hundreds if not more available.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    What browser is used on the XP machines?  Can Chrome be mandated for accessing this app from XP?

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    , DevGeek wrote

    I guess I wanted to keep it that incredibly generic so that I didn't add my personal bias.  Maybe I overcorrected.

     

    So GenericBusinessUsers have said "Hey we can't find anything out there that does what we want because we are special, please write us something".

     

    So you look into the programming tool bag and pull out:

    ASP.NET MVC 4?

         (Single Page Application with associated javascript libraries?)

         (Straight up MVC?)

    Lightswitch (Silverlight or HTML)?

    WPF?

    Silverlight?

    SharePoint?

    Other options I didn't think of off the top of my head.

     

    I guess I'm really just trying to gauge what other developers working for GenericLargeCompanies are using in their apps these days.

    well one route that is normal is that you make a request for IT to solve the problem and they start a formal process of gathering requirements and planning and possibly in 6 months you might have something.

    another route in large corp. is that the users have some version of MS Access and the department gets someone to write an access front end that hooks up to the data and does what they need.

    if they were asking me as a contractor I would ask a bunch of questions before I went with any set tech path.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    , figuerres wrote

    *snip*

    well one route that is normal is that you make a request for IT to solve the problem and they start a formal process of gathering requirements and planning and possibly in 6 months you might have something.

    another route in large corp. is that the users have some version of MS Access and the department gets someone to write an access front end that hooks up to the data and does what they need.

    if they were asking me as a contractor I would ask a bunch of questions before I went with any set tech path.

    Also, it's very rare that you'd take the customer at their word that they've looked around and didn't find anything.

    The customer might be the expert at building widgets and doodads, but doing a web search for "widget and doodad product management" will likely return unsatisfying results. Software should be discovered and selected by IT with the customers active involvement to teach IT about their business. Gathering requirements should happen before this process and is a full project on its own.

    During all of this you'll be weighing the options of build, buy or bend. Even though we have a development team where I work, the barrier of entry for development time is very high. We simply cannot afford to build things that should be implemented in the ERP system, point of sale, or content management systems. Sometimes this involves some self examination to see if we can adapt to software as opposed to the other way around.

    Selecting technology is pretty far down the list, although we're most likely to pick ASP.NET MVC these days.

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