The Technology Roller Coaster
As much as none of us like the technology roller coaster, it simply "is". I think MV developers sort of miss the big picture when we have discussions about .NET, Java, Flash, Ajax, Ruby, or any other new technology that hits the streets. Please forgive a short but hard-hitting commentary.
Consumers want modern interfaces that make use of familiar utilities. We’ve raised the bar from green screen to browsers and modems to networks. This is the business we’re in. The market cannot survive with people who expect technology to remain stagnant. It can only survive with people who understand that things change and every few years it’s time to adapt.
Of course we want to avoid the need for a complete re-write but this is where "return on investment" comes in. MV developers assume they’re not going to sell enough to recover the costs of development, so they want things to stay constant for as long as possible – just to keep down the expense of time and money that comes with continued development. In the rest of the world where change is the constant, development is an ongoing investment and the reward is ongoing sales.
Your clients will pay for an upgrade from green screen to VB4. They will pay for the upgrade to VB6. They will pay for the browser UI, and when they move from land-line to PDA to Blackberry to iPhone and to Android, they’ll pay you to be there for them. If one customer doesn’t pay for all of the interfaces (and of course most wont) the point is that there will be new customers who gladly pay you. They’re not paying for the modern UI – they expect that as a give. They’re paying for the feature-rich business application you have under it, which is ironically the bit for which most MV developers are so proud and yet they keep it hidden behind old user interfaces.
The UI is a vehicle, a business card. It’s just the front door that gives people a view of the real software you provide. Changing the front-end every couple years is just a cost of doing business. If you don’t do that, you’ll continue struggling to do business.
So as usual, my message is: I don’t care which technology or product you choose. Pick one and move forward. You’ll have the same sort of technical issues and pundits of theory out there who criticize your choices no matter what you use. But you’ll also be making new sales, keeping employees, and building capital to invest in the next cycle, whatever that might be.