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.

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