Beware the Complex DIY Solutions Out There

Posted by Romeo Elias on Wed, Nov 08, 2006 @ 06:27 PM


As part of my role at Interneer, I spend a lot of time reviewing what's in the software world that may rival our platform or provide promising potential for integration. As I have reported in previous posts, there is definitely a recent emergence of new solutions that are designed to empower the business user to create web applications without programming. What I have noticed, however, is that a lot of these products are very complex for the average user.

Here are some quick rules that I apply to determine whether a solution fits our criteria for simplicity for the end user:

  • Is the application functionality described using programming concepts, e.g. objects, methods, inheritance etc. (HUH!??) that are unfamiliar to the typical business user?

  • Does the company expect the business user to know how to create Excel macros (I don't even know how to create one)?

  • Is "scripting" part of the core capability to create the application? "scripting" = programming

  • Does the user have to "compile" the application before it can run? This is another code word for complex.

  • Does the application "generate" code to be deployed? Generating code often means learning programming to understand why it doesn't work when trying to install.

  • Do you have to create table definitions in a database, or specify relationships between tables, or foreign keys etc.? All buzzwords for complex.

I will keep adding to this list as I uncover more. In the meantime, remember these rules when researching solutions out there.