Sunday, December 18, 2011

“We looked around in the market and found nothing that would fit...”

...was the reoccurring theme for many of the speakers at the conference I went to a couple of days ago....followed by an inevitable...”so we built the toolset from scratch”.
It made sense. And did not.

I wrote previously how I could not see ‘backyard’ or even professional-but-small-scale program writing feasible anymore and that the baseline expectation of a ‘standard’ user of any digital tool is so high that customisation of mainstream, off-the shelf products should be considered first.
Can’t say that the glimpses into a number of these in-house tools did much to unsettle me in my conviction.
Some quite  clever-looking, potentially very useful but the way to go?
Doubt it.

If we have only shonky tools at our disposal, we are partially to be blamed for the sorry affair.
We collectively, as an industry assisted or failed to assist various software developers reach their potential and/or meet our needs.
Truly useful instruments, systems and approaches do not tend to develop in isolation from practice, they rarely pop-out fully formed, but are often results of endless tinkering.
Even with very limited programming knowledge, I find it very hard to accept that it is worthwhile investing in a self-sufficient, noncore-business, technical arm for any AEC based company, as opposed to putting the boot (so to speak) into the existing tool-makers and get them to perform better.