Monday, 21 April 2008

Personal Opinion VS What's Good for the Company

There are a few dinosaurs at my work. Very intelligent people, but they have very strong views on what the future direction of the company should be. Now I've been the occasional evangelist in my time supporting the likes of C++, PHP and Perl when it seemed appropriate, but not necessarily putting these opinion's ahead of what the companies needs would be. For example. My department is heavily developing in .NET technologies. I had the opportunity to move the department away from Microsoft and into alternative technologies for web and windows based systems. Instead of doing so I spent some time learning how to develop in .NET and applying it to the business. While I do not agree with a great many of the philosophies of .NET and Microsoft as a while, what they have produced is a framework where you can produce simple applications that are very easily supported by a small group of developers. This is typically suited to the work my department does and the technology we already have in place. Alternatives were also looked into of course and are not entirely ruled out. We use Perl for some unix based processing, C++ for some windows interfaces and SOAP web services, but to produce the main suite of web applications using another web tool would have taken 2 - 3 times the amount of time and in many cases produced code that would have been far more difficult to maintain. In our current situation, we may be tied to Microsoft but we can hire a developer off the street who would likely do an adequate job at understanding our code. I am however under constant scorn from the dinosaurs for this line of thinking. One of them goes so far to install linux on his work computer instead of the SOE Windows environment believing that there is no need for Microsoft in our company. This is correct of course, my company could survive without Microsoft tools. However the cost that would be involved in replacing such an enormous amount of technology would send them broke and they would struggle to find support technicians or developers for any of these new systems in an environment where people with good technical skills and good communication skills are terribly difficult to find. Open technologies are a great idea and they have to start somewhere if they are to succeed, however sometimes propriety technology is a necessary evil.

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