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Paradigm Shift Alert!

I was recently drawn to revisit some musings by someone I greatly respect in the software development world, Mr Daniel Appleman. Much of what he says resonates with me, as we both cut our teeth on the Microsoft Visual Basic, SQL Server and Windows platforms in the 1990's, having come from different backgrounds prior to that point (mine was in embedded systems programming and Unix/C in academia/research).

Dan talks about a 'paradigm shift' with respect to building enterprise line of business (LOB) applications and in particular how Microsoft has continuously re-invented the same technologies it invented in the 90's, making older versions obsolete as required. In my view this is because there are not enough of the younger generation of 'bright young things' who have the foresight and capabilities (time/money) to break free from the established concepts and paradigms.

Many of these new clever developers end up at Microsoft or Google or Facebook etc.. and there is no question that they are great software engineers, however you really need experience to be driving true innovation which changes the world of software development, and these young guys don't have it, obviously.

I am frankly sick to death of yet another data access technology, forms designer, or markup language, or scripting language or design pattern etc.. Too many of these simply re-invent the same wheel which travels along the same old road. In many cases they fix what was broken, but leave holes where there were none.

You only have to look around at the complete lack of depth in what was in the 90's called the 4th generation language market (Informix 4GL, Ingres 4GL etc..). These tools provided a much higher level of abstraction than with a traditional 3rd level programming language like C, C++ or even C# and VB/Net, and allowed designers to build entire systems with a back end database, front end screens and reports. Because the 'desktop is dead' according to many commentators, and single page web applications with a complex mixture of markup, styles and scripting frameworks are all the rage, there are very few LOB frameworks comparable to yesteryears 4GL's.

The time is right for a new paradigm - one that capitalises on the innovations in web, cloud and mobile technologies, and provides a more intuitive and lower required skill level for designers/developers, otherwise we are going to have a major shortage of LOB apps and expertise in the coming years.

I know Dan has a hunch or two about what product(s) may be the answer to these problems, but I have now spent over two decades designing my own sophisticated, rapid application development business framework, and TriSys remains the best I have used so far.

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