They don’t make them like they used to…
How many times - at work or at home - have you uttered the words “they don’t make them like they used to?” Probably too often! With the cost of materials ever-increasing and the need to protect margins and profitability, it’s a simple fact of life: many things just aren’t built as well as they once were. I remember as a child having the same desk chair for several years. Now I find myself on my third in six!
Built to last
In software development, we see far too many bespoke applications and systems written on incredibly limited budgets. These systems are often built for a single, specific purpose that was appropriate at the time. However, little or no consideration went into growth, extensibility or maintainability.
It’s of course inevitable that changes will be requested for a multitude of reasons and motivations. This is where good, early investment and planning can make all the difference.
Investing the first time around
By investing that little bit extra at the start, a system can be well-built the first time around. By taking into account future growth, extensibility and maintainability, you can ensure you utilise industry-best standards and the most appropriate technology to create a long-term solution. Secondly, you can better safeguard the software developers’ ability to build upon existing functionality. Most importantly, you can make sure your teams are getting the most out of the system you paid for.
“Most importantly, you can make sure your teams are getting the most out of the system you paid for.”
We regularly work on existing or legacy systems that need updating. We have an entire service focused on this! The most common cause of concern is rushed design or shortcuts in the development lifecycle. These usually stem from budget restraints rather than a lack of technical ability. Unpicking poorly written code is usually where we start.
Although money was saved initially, this exercise is often more costly long term.
Planning for tomorrow
But these problems are solvable. When working on projects like this, we need to both understand the business logic for today's needs and for that of yesterday’s. We need to understand in detail why the original implementation was chosen.
In addition, these systems are often ‘tightly coupled’. Bespoke applications written on a restricted budget often are! In these instances we need to pay particular attention to whether our changes impact other features within a system.
A well-written software system, backed by appropriate investment, provides a more sustainable platform for future development.
“A well-written software system, backed by appropriate investment, provides a more sustainable platform for future development.”
Experience and expertise
Our carpenters of old would spend time ensuring they had the right materials, a design for what they were building and practising their craft - all before producing a high quality, finished product. A willing shopper would see the obvious craftsmanship and be rewarded with a well-made, sturdy chair that would last for years.
In software development it’s harder to see a tangible, finished product before purchasing. Instead - as developers - we take a clients’ idea and build it from scratch. We would never change this approach, as it’s what we enjoy the most. But it does mean our customers need to trust in us.
Thankfully, by working with experienced and dedicated professionals and investing at the beginning, you’ll be rewarded with a more sustainable platform and a better return for the long term.