Monday, January 26, 2009

Technology perspectives driven by vendors, fashion and ignorance

Prompted by more maddening items on orientation

Firstly let me say that I believe the following perspectives should be considered as 1st order when looking at ICT systems:
- presentation (from services i.e. they are by definition presented, to interfaces)
- information (from knowledge to data)
- process (from a capabilitity, to a function, to a process, worflow, to step/activity)
- rules (from a law, to a policy, to a rule, to a decision and control mechanism)
- characteristics (from being cool, sexy to what some might call non-functional requirements)
- organisation (from culture, to organisation, to role, to people).
- location (from country, to region to specific location)

Key 2nd order elements are:
- components (from products to objects) which can often be consider assets

I would also think that technologies (products and standards) are used by the vendor community (products and consulting vendors) to drive an feeding frenzy in some new (actually not new) area each year or so - so that some new set of things can be sold.

Orientations over the decades:
  • Information - When I 1st learned to programme the focus was on memory management and jumps in assembly langauges (there was no focus on presentation).
  • Rules - Then it was on logic and alogrithims e.g. Fortran, Algol, SNOBOL, LISP (oriented around Formulas, Algorithms, rules for processing strings, rules for processing lists).
  • Integrated - For a while real applications were then written in langauges that considered logic (presentation was fixed by the very limited range/type of devices; location/organisation/characteristics were effectively fixed by the integrated OS/HW). This was actually quite a productive time.
  • Information - Databases emerged and information engineering became king. Everyone forgot about function points because all you needed as information model (not).
  • Integrated - Then it moved to OO (and data and logic don't exist discretely). Unfortunately the methods were usually oriented at coders not business people.
  • Process - BPR lead to a brief fling with business process orientation, but it was really just a way the consultants to pack as many graduates as possible into organisations so they could document what was alreading known. In the course of this "Imaging" vendors became "workflow" vendors, before coming "BP vendors" and of course now they are "SOA" vendors.
  • Presentation - now with SOA we can focus on another set of technical standards and products.
Sooner or latter surely people will realise that all these perspective need to be considered (i.e.
presentation, information, process, rules and characteristics) and they stop throwing the baby out with the bath water.

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