Jorn Bettin

Jorn Bettin

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Conclusion: There is never a good time to break the legacy cycle. A significant number of the core systems used in large corporations today have a history that extends over two or three decades. New applications, implemented in modern technologies, often still require additional functionality to be added to legacy back-end systems. But new is not necessarily better, and an educational deficit in the IT workforce is a major part of the problem.


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Conclusion: In the last seven years Domain Specific Modeling and Model-Driven Software Development have emerged as fundamentally new paradigms for software development. Upon closer examination however, there is a familiar pattern at work. The new approaches represent a shift to a higher level of abstraction, not unlike the shift from assembly language to higher-level languages thirty years ago.


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A recent discussion of software development methodologies with a colleague ended in the joint conclusion that the way software is developed today apparently has a lot to do with process elements that are best described as “rituals”. Often these rituals work as expected, but sometimes they don’t.


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Conclusion: In the last seven years Domain Specific Modeling (DSM) and Model-Driven Software Development (MDSD/MDD) have emerged as fundamentally new paradigms for software development. Upon closer examination however, there is a familiar pattern at work. The new approaches represent a shift to a higher level of abstraction, not unlike the shift from assembly language to higher-level languages thirty years ago.


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Conclusion: Quasi-pervasive web connectivity in combination with more sophisticated software services that cope gracefully with short-term loss of connection are changing the landscape in which software product vendors operate. The shift in brand-awareness and power in recent years from traditional IT giants Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle towards web-based brands such as Google is one of several observable indicators of the transition of the web from a primarily static information repository to a highly dynamic ultra-large scale system.


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Conclusion: We live in the age of personalised and mass customisable products, and this has significant implications for the software systems that enable such products or services. If configurability is added to software as an afterthought, the results are not pretty. In contrast, products or services that are personalised and configured based on intelligent interpretation of user feedback constitute a genuine improvement in quality, typically reducing the complexity that users have to deal with.


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Conclusion: The amount of information that software intensive businesses store in their databases continues to increase from year to year, fueled by demands for regulatory compliance (for example SOX1), by increasing complexity of products, and the quest for a deeper understanding of customer behaviour. Yet, in the next few years, it is likely that the increasing use of web services will lead to smaller and more modularised database schemas.


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Conclusion: Web 2.0 ideas and technologies are still evolving rapidly, but it is possible to identify likely dimensions along which further innovation can be expected. The most mature aspect of Web 2.0 arguably consists of simple/elegant web based community tools. Investing in this area is worthwhile, but the effort should best be channelled into the one or two most relevant platforms.


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Conclusion: Speed, quality, and cost with which IT solutions are built and with which IT services are delivered depends on a large number of variables. Understanding and managing these variables can lead to order of magnitude improvements – neglecting them can lead to serious inefficiencies.


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Conclusion: Even when one has settled on implementing an iterative software development process, there is still a large number of approaches and process frameworks to choose from. Instead of another instance of a "method war", it is much more productive to concentrate on techniques from different methods, which can be strung together into a working approach that is suitable for a specific context.


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Conclusion: All too often scalability considerations are limited to a technical discussion of implementation technology combinations, and other aspects of scalability are ignored. Organisational scalability is only achievable if not only software architecture, but also knowledge management and software portfolio management are part of the equation.


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Conclusion: Most organisations are fairly adept at dealing with routine changes that have minimal local impact on processes and systems. The topic of change management becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when the changes in question amount to a fundamental shift in the business model or in the way in which the business model is implemented: Form needs to follow function, new approaches need to be validated in depth before company-wide roll out occurs, lower and upper limits apply to the speed of implementation, and expectations need to be managed judiciously.


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Have Microsoft Operating Systems reached their best-used-by date? Ten years ago such a question would have seemed ridiculous. Today however, there are several indications that the Microsoft rule in the OS domain should no longer be considered as one of the fundamental constants of IT.


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Conclusion: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is used to refer to a whole variety of approaches to achieve enterprise software integration and/or some degree of reuse. By now there is reasonable consensus in the industry around the essence of service orientation, yet no Web Service standard can ever prevent implementers from making glaring mistakes in their use of the SOA concept. The number of SOA implementations is growing, and some valuable lessons can be learned by looking under the hood and assessing the results against the original expectations.


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