Maintaining Your Application — It’s Like Owning A Cat

Taking care of software is like taking care of a cat.

I may live to regret this analogy.

But let’s consider this a PSA for the purpose of maintaining your software application . . . perhaps co-sponsored by your local ASPCA or Animal Rescue.

I frequently find that clients think of their applications like a very heavy piece of furniture — one of those uber-plushy, leather recliners. You buy it, you stick it in the corner, and, there it sits, comfy and dependable, aging gracefully in place for years until a spouse puts a foot down and insists that it be updated for a newer model. The chair is dragged to the corner or sold at a yard sale or hauled to the transfer station. (more…)

Long in the Tooth: What to Do with Aging Software

When software gets long in the tooth -- like a walrus.

It’s happening more and more lately.

    Me: . . . Okay, so I understand a little bit about your project goals and how they fit in with your business needs. . . Can you tell me, if you know, what technologies your current application was built with?

    Client: Um. . . I’ve heard some of the folks say “PHP”. . . does that make sense?

    Me: Sure does. Any idea what version of PHP and which framework it might be leveraging?

    Client: Oooh, I don’t know. . . I can get that for you though. . .

    Me: That’s okay. How about this: How old is the application and when is the last time you did an update?

    Client: Well, we developed it in 2007 and we had a person who worked on it for just a couple years after that but they aren’t here anymore. . .

Software development has moved through several “ages” as both technical innovation and the cultural evolution driven by those technical innovations has moved from the early adopters through the late adopters and permeated our expectations of what technology is. (more…)