Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Corporations Don’t Trust RAD – the dBase III Syndrome

I spoke yesterday to one of my favorite corporate architects. I was pitching WaveMaker, the latest and greatest in a long line of Rapid Application Development platforms. In response, he was reminiscing about the “dbase III syndrome” as an example of what is wrong with RAD solutions in general.

The dBase III syndrome is the observation that small productivity apps built with RAD products morph over time into big complex apps. Once they have outgrown capabilities of a particular RAD solution, companies lose more time porting the app into a new tool than they saved using RAD to begin with.

He continued, “I have been pitched recently by several enterprise software vendors offering tools for building Rich Internet Applications based on big, heavy, nasty proprietary frameworks. No development package lasts forever. I need a cost effective exit plan to get off of a tool that feeds into my Total Cost of Ownership for that tool.”

In short, the lock-in costs of these frameworks outweighs any short term productivity benefits. Our goal with WaveMaker is to provide the productivity of a traditional RAD/visual builder product, coupled with a pure Java deployment framework that prevents the lock-in of traditional RAD approaches.

Getting this right will open up a huge market of architects burned by the dBase III syndrome in the past.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The WaveMaker Genie Is Unleashed!

We launched our new WaveMaker product last week in Boston. At its worst, a product launch tour can be a mind-numbing exercise in navigating the Mass turnpike while regurgitating at regular intervals an adjective-laden product pitch to barely conscious industry pooh-bahs. These soporific meetings are puncuated with frequent stops at Dunkin' Donuts (apparently the only chain allowed in suburban Massachusetts) for undercooked donuts and overcooked coffee.

Our tour last week wasn’t like that. Mostly because our story is simple – building web apps is too hard – and our solution is equally simple – a visual development tool that generates pure Java apps that run in any Java platform.

The best meeting of the week was with Judith Hurwitz, who wrote a great blog posting on our product launch, asking Is WaveMaker the Web 2.0 version of Powerbuilder? How often does a seasoned analyst describe a company meeting as fun!? Judith said:
Some meetings are just fun (I can’t always say that..sometimes I just want to run away and hide under my desk). But my meeting today with WaveMaker reminded me of the type of meetings I had in the .com days. I admit I was excited about what I heard.
I also had an interview with Jason Meserve of Network World on the launch of the WaveMaker product. This 15 minute podcast gives a good overview of our strategy and you can listen to it here. Finally, Paul Krill of InfoWorld had a good product write-up here.