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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I’ve spent the last day and a half in a series of requirements-gathering meetings with our online banking vendor. Normally this would be the part where I express my loathing of meetings. But I can’t help it, I’m really excited about this project to redesign our online banking system after four years of near-stagnation.

First, the project itself excites me because the original was designed before our department existed or I had any responsibility for its maintenance. That means that it’s mostly been a royal pain in the ass for me and my co-worker. There are all sorts of design decisions that we wish they had made differently and the code is mostly of the fettucine variety—a little thicker and more bloated than spaghetti. We can make some significant usability improvements and make the whole user experience much, much better. That is, if we don’t screw up the opportunity (which we have done in the past).

Second, the project team from our vendor has espoused some views that are philosophically consonant with my beliefs about the software development process. Namely, they have advocated the use of CVS instead of VSS and test-driven development. We have too long done without robust source control and adequate testing. Lead by our vendor, we can perhaps get our development process started on the right foot and taken to greater heights over time.

Finally, we may be redoing our site in .NET, specifically ASP.NET! I know, I know: it’s Microsoft and it’s Microsoft at their copying best. However, I have seen the future and I want to be at the forefront of it, rather than the caboose. After nearly nine years at my current employer, I suspect that I’m not going anywhere soon, but it never hurts to have a backup plan or to maintain your marketability. The decision is still up to my manager and he’s a little risk-averse in this situation, but I’m going to work on him. We’re going to have to migrate to it eventually, so we might as well do it now.