Yorkshireman

A Perilous Realm

Blog Post created by Yorkshireman on Oct 9, 2015

way back, away back, I first learned to programme (we spelled it that way) using Honeywell 200 series Assembler. 

 

It was deeply satisfying to spend a day to produce a printing routine that was faster then the one before, and update the deck of cards for the print subroutine.

Job well done!

 

hey - that set of 6 punch cards was an abstract service function, and so I was writing object oriented code.

 

well, not really.

 

But the pinnacle of controlled code development was working for a client whose entire system was within a Ca 2e model - everything - nothing happened without being in the model.  All code was crystal clear and impact analysis was guaranteed.  Complex - yes, very, but always clear.

 

Then Sir Tim's idea, after the necessary gestation of a decade+ became an overnight explosion, we all went www.crazy and now I live in an installation that has every shade of RPG from RPGII onwards plus CA Plex, plus CA 2e, plus C#,  plus .NET, clouds of x86 servers that need constant feeding and everything in between.

 

I mention this only because we are not alone.  All the large sites I've worked on are similar.  The oldest parts are the most stable, the most patched up, the most unloved, the parts you don't want to change because they have been through 53 developers hands, each of whom has left some DNA, and long gone.  We don't even know exactly what they do any more, so changing is a nightmare.  With current testing standards we're pretty sure to find some bugs that have been there 'forever' too, and they need fixed.

 

All of which suggests that the world of large, stable, business critical systems is a perilous place for developers.  At the front end we race to develop and redevelop webfriendly, no, phonefriendly, no, cloudfriendly interfaces, whilst keeping the lights on at the backend.  Attention is of necessity focussed here, where the customer interface is evolving.  The DB2 stuff just has to cope.  But How?

 

This weblog won't solve much, but I'll share one or two thoughts regarding the (re)development challenges, and the armour needed.

 

as it says on the map

'Here be Dragons'

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