.NET for freebsd

Paul Robinson paul at iconoplex.co.uk
Mon Feb 3 10:18:49 GMT 2003

Frank Shute wrote:

> Well I've done the maths & it means that you need 10 developers to
> complete your project within the remaining 5 months.

About that, but it can be reduced. We have a framework that needs padding
out, and there is a good chance that we can do it with less, in less time.
It's the age-old line of "we're prepared to let feature list shorten for the
sake of the schedule, but we will not forsake quality for features, or the
schedule for quality".

> It sounds to me like you've been given an impossible remit and you're
> now clutching at straws & you're thinking .NET might be the magic
> bullet.

Nah, I've been given a remit that is difficult, not impossible. I've done
more with less resources before now. As it happens, .NET is far more suited
to what we're doing than J2EE, but I have J2EE evangelists turning up later
this week who will try and turn me. Both are far more suited to the task
than most solutions I've worked with in the past pretty extensively. The key
here, is technology has nothing to do with it - it's the methodology that is
key. You can take a NASA-style 1980's methodology and know that this project
isn't going to get done any time in the next two years. You can take a
fresher-than-Extreme-Programming methodolgy designed for RAD, and it can be
done in a few months. It's not about working harder, it's working cleverer.

> I suppose in the unlikely case that you have got 10 developers and

I have access to as many resources I need providing I stay roughly within
budget. 10 devs for 6 months is not an issue, and I have ready access to
groups within large consultancies (that I don't really want to employ),
smaller groups in smaller companies and a whole swath of freelancers and
micro-companies we have very good relationships with.

> they're all familiar with either Java or C# then you might get it done
> but IMO it would still seem unlikely - your application would still be
> very much beta (goes without saying that I'm largely guessing as to
> the complexity of the application).

It's pretty complicated. Like I've said before, imagine a slightly more
complicated version of amazon.co.uk where you're doing e-learning rather
than buying books. The complication comes in the knowledge management and
CPD/Accreditation frameworks that are ill defined. So, you just seperate
them out logically to make it easier to adapt in the future. The rest of it
is realistically no different to the majority of portals out there. Oh,
there is some madness around billing as well, but that's another issue.

> Tell us how many of these developers are familiar with .NET? Or are

If I choose .NET, all but one. If I get "turned" later this week, the dev
team will be made up of J2EE specialists, in which case, again, all but one
will be familiar with the tech responsible. I choose the team, and both
sides are pretty well briefed already.

> you hoping that these guys are going to pick it up as they go along?

The one that isn't, will have to. Fortunately, he's a quick learner, and is
mostly involved in QA and beta testing rather than development.

> Are you hoping that some guys will write in VB, some do the ASP,
> some do C#, some C++ and then tie it all together? How many of these
> guys have programmed on Windows & know the platform?

I know .NET means I don't need to worry about the language, but I would
prefer ASP.NET as it's more likely in 'x' years time I can get code monkeys
in on maintenance who are going to have experience in it, for less money and
more easily than getting in C# kung-fu artists, whose specialities are going
to be windows apps rather than the stateless machine that is Web

> Well, I wish you the best of luck!

Thanks, I need it. :-)

> I hope you keep the list posted with how things work out and the pro's
> and con's of developing an application with .NET and how you get on
> with porting it to FreeBSD.

I'll try. I've already slightly over-stepped the mark of "in commercial
confidence", but I can trust you guys, right? :-)

> BTW, have you seen any write-ups of real-life situations where people
> have done something similar as to what you propose?

Yes. Microsoft's strategy at the moment (and IBM's on Websphere) is to throw
out lots of case studies. There is a chance we may become one of them. In
fact, I've spoken to several companies that have started out with MS'
"portal template" and within 2 weeks produced something not completely
dissimilar to what we're proposing. Ours will be more complicated in the
back-end though.

In all fairness, 90% of projects, including this one, are nothing more than
writing a nice UI on top of a relational database. I'm confident if we
design the RD properly, the rest will drop into place quickly.

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