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We are trying to build an Enterprise Application Platform ( basically a business platform geared towards business software ) on top of which we want to let others build applications ( like order management, inventory, credit etc.. ) - sort of like IBM tried building sanfrancisco frameworks etc. We have been traditionally a product company - focused on building products and now trying to evolve into a platform..
I would like to hear similar experiences and also if someone could point me to any literature concerning the same.. for example, the challenges are not just technological.. there has to be a people / process aspect when building and releasing a platform..setting up discussion frameworks, development community etc.. any help is appreciated..
We have talked about this sort of thing but we decided we want to sell to "real users", not IT folk, and that means we need to control and provide the user interface. In our industry, the guys who click the mouse control all the money, and IT are generally considered a necessary evil. So we don't want to target them. Of course, other industries may vary.
In the industries we are targeting, the people who sign on the dotted line are the business and IT people in big manufacturing, distribution and service companies.. we would like to leverage our channels to extend on top of our business application framework to build specific apps..
There are a few books on application frameworks that I've found useful. They include:
Implementing Application Frameworks: Object-Oriented Frameworks at Work
Building Application Frameworks: Object-Oriented Foundations of Framework Design
Domain-Specific Application Frameworks: Frameworks Experience by Industry
Framework Process Patterns: Lessons Learned Developing Application Frameworks
They are a bit dry (read, extremely dry), but have some useful information and will take you far in orienting your thoughts around how frameworks should be designed and how they will be used. If anything, the explanation of inversion of control is worthwhile.
Also, dust off your copy of the GOF book. Many of the patterns in that book really come to life when you think of them in the context of a reusable, extensible application framework.
Lastly, study some existing application frameworks. For instance, study the ASP.NET application framework. It's a good, recent example of a powerful framework. Regardless of the technology you use, there will be many frameworks you can learn from.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Generic application frameworks are useless because they are ... well ... generic. Or, in other words, there is no one single way to build an enterprise level solution. Trying to impose an yet-another-way-to-build-enterprise-application on a saturated market is futile, especially when you cannot anticipate the diversity of problems any given enterprise level application has to deal with.
Instead try and create enterprise level components for programmers to use. If you know how to do that, then you have a chance to be successful.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
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