Re: another failed attempt at database independence
Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 11:41:16 -0400
I've worked on the aeronautical industry, the education industry, the real estate/finance industry and now the network industry. People are the same across the board - they do what you reward them for.
In the aeronautical industry, the rules and regulations may sound practical in a congressional discussion but don't always translate so well in day to day work. Some of the most brilliant programmers I ever expect to meet were involved in same pretty amazing projects in aeronautics, but I saw some amazingly bad applications as well. Relational design seemed to be the biggest flaw in most of the bad ones, but again, that's true beyond the defense industry. It's also the piece of app I'm most likely to dig into, so my perspective may be skewed.
Whatever issues we may have had, the desire for database independence wasn't one of them; we were very willing to have an application tied to the database and as a result, I've worked on a few software projects that accomplished unbelievable things.
As for influence of the politicians and the military, that of course is true. In one case, the complete tool set for an aircraft program was repainted (purple .. I kid you not) for a 2 hour tour by a particular top dog (and I mean the big stuff that held metal in place for structural build). Later someone realized they painted over all the undocumented indicators on the tools that were necessary for the build ... whoops. Took a long time to regather all the necessary details, but at least the documentation was finally brought up to date. (sorry ... not a software story, but it fits)
I agree with Jared too ... the proliferation of tools that make software development look easy hasn't helped. Creating place to dump data and a pretty screen isn't the critical part of the job, but I saw less of that problem in defense than I do elsewhere. Maybe I just got out early enough, but the software people I worked with in aeronautics had pretty serious educational backgrounds.
The very worst database application I encountered was a relational database that could only be read linearly (is that a word?). It had been 'converted' from a hierarchical system, but apparently the team on that one didn't get the concept. What was scary was how easy it was to correctly model the data. The new functional version was built and implemented in one tenth of the time the original project took and provided far more functionality. Shortcuts in the preliminary stages are the deadliest sin.
my $44.00 ( that's $.02 at defense industry rates)
On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 9:26 AM, Goulet, Dick <richard.goulet_at_capgemini.com> wrote:
> Well, I don't know. Having been on the doing side of that,
> namely as a government representative, the politics of the situation
> many times over ride sanity. And if the contractor just happens to have
> the "ear" of some Senator or even worse some one on the President's
> staff then waste can abound "in the spirit of serving the common good".
> Which mostly means "throw those guys a bone so that they don't lay off a
> bunch of people in my home district, or the district of someone I'm
> watching out for". In a case like that, it doesn't matter what their
> qualifications are or how unsound their proposal, it gets awarded.
> Especially if the dollar amount falls below certain limits where
> sweeping things under the rug are easier. Heck, take a look at all of
> those no-bid contracts that Haliburton got. Did you even bother to
> wonder why?? (Think pervious board member now 2M ton gorilla in the
> room (aka the VP).)
> Dick Goulet / Capgemini
> North America P&C / East Business Unit
> Senior Oracle DBA / Hosting
> Office: 508.573.1978 / Mobile: 508.742.5795 / www.capgemini.com
> Fax: 508.229.2019 / Email: richard.goulet_at_capgemini.com
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-- I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. Douglas Adams -- http://www.freelists.org/webpage/oracle-lReceived on Thu May 08 2008 - 10:41:16 CDT