Other developers and older apps

When I first joined my current company, everyone, well - pretty much everyone - was complaining about an old VB6 application that was (still is) the main application in use throughout the company. I quickly (to my shame) joined in, automatically assuming a number of things:

1. It was VB6 - therefore it was sh!t.
2. I could do infinitely better than the previous work.
3. It must be poorly designed, because it was old.

Now, I've been here for, well, nearly a year now, and I've had a chance to use the application a little (only from a development perspective), and I am ashamed to have been so brash about how bad I thought it was.

In my opinion, part of what makes an application / website / anything good is the intuitive nature of it, i.e. can I just pick it up and use it. I think this is a massively important aspect of any application. Take (as a pretty good example) Microsoft Word, sure people don't like x,y and z about it (note, those are example letters, not that people have actual issues with those letters), but how many thousands, no, millions of people use it, and can use it without any training whatsoever?? I've never been trained on Word, but I like to think I'm a pretty good user of it, I can do most things I want to (MailMerging, Contents, Footers etc) and it's all self-learned - because it's all natural.

Anyways, back to the app at hand - I have never had to ask someone how to do anything on it (and it's pretty complex), I've asked it what I've done is correct (and it always has been). That to me is great, that the menus are in a good place, the forms easy to navigate - all in all - much, much better than I a) thought it would be and b) had been lead to believe!

Having said that - yes - it's design challenged - some colours really don't go well together, and the back-end has had so many different people working on it over the years, it's hard to see how it even got this far!

What does this all actually mean though?

Well - it means that you should really try something before dismissing it as trash - something that's been in place for so long really can't be all bad! Other developers (colleagues, fellow professionals) work hard to get stuff out, and often take a lot of sh!t from stuck up pretentious 'new' developers who 'know best', and that is massively unfair.

From now on I'm going to respect that which has been done before me - of course - I will always think I can do it better - hell, that's just my nature, but I'm gonna make damn sure I don't hurt my colleagues and friends in the process.

Hmmm, reading that back I come across as a bit of a doink - I'm not really!!! Really!!!

Print | posted @ Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:05 PM

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