[theforum] weo 2b: read me 1st

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Mon Nov 8 14:35:00 CST 2004

Martin Paul Burns <martin.burns at uk.ibm.com> wrote:

>> > There are a number of questions we need to answer before we can
>> > even do specific requirements, let alone start building the
>> > replacement weo. The 3 that spring to my mind are:
>> >
>> > 1) OSS as a point of principle?
>> > 2) Replicate the current site's model?
>> > 3) Packaged+customisations or bespoke
> Dave the K wrote:
>> I read an interesting article on the importance of gathering project
>> requirements recently ...
>> you may have the priorities a bit out of sequence here, Martin :-)
>> Job one is to agree upon the functional requirements...
>> Can our goal be expressed as simply as:
>> "Porting WEO, front and back-ends, just as they function now, to a
>> new operating system and relaunching it in new hosting environment"?
> The goal is "Move WEO from generously provided 'mates' hosting to
> contractually based hosting." to which I've the possibility of "Let's
> use the opportunity to think about one or two things on the way as we
> probably won't get another opportunity for a number of years."

Okay, so can we discuss the possibility of making the goal you stated 
and the addition you're proposing two separate projects?

The project of developing a replacement CMS system for WEO, be it 
Drupal-based or anything else, could begin *now* on ServerMatrix, and 
take quite a long time, before it is ready for production.  Moving 
everything off of mates servers, and onto Evolt's own systems is a very 
different goal, requiring different skills and with different risks.  I 
think it should be a different project, even if both take pace in 
parallel.  And by separating the two goals into two projects we simplify 
both, and insulate each from delays and changes in the other.

>> But I do think, Martin, that your first question (Preferred Licensing
>> Philosophy) and the third (Buy vs. Build) must come *after* the
>> gathering (and more importantly, limiting) of the functional
>> requirement goals.
> Nope. They inform that gathering. Sure, we could (and probably should)
> profitably spend time in parallel documenting what we have now. But
> until we've decided whether we *want* a samizdat of the current
> system, do we really want to set the current system as the model?

I think we not only want the current system, but need it, at least to 
continue to serve us until we have *completed* the development and 
testing of a suitable replacement, yes.  I'm concerned that the new 
thing may take longer than 90 days to complete... and I think, if we 
make it the Goal of *a* Project (not necessarily the *only* project) to 
"move the functionality that currently exists" we can surely succeed in 
achieving that goal, and making that deadline.  I don't have anywhere 
near as much confidence that a redevelopment of the system being can be 
specked, coded and tested in that timeframe.

> And given that the current model is a bespoke system, to replicate it
> really *will* take a ground up rewrite if it's in anything other than
> the current technology.

Oh, I see where we're disconnecting, here.  See my post above in reply 
to Madhu.  Replicating WEO on Linux need not necessitate rewriting... I 
have a copy of ColdFusion for Linux, and experience porting stuff to it! 
Redacting is in the cards, to be sure.

I agree that rewriting from the ground up would entail many of the same 
schedule risks as respecking, but

A. porting WEO exactly from ColdFusion/Win32 to ColdFusion/Linux is a 
very straightforward task

B. rebuilding it from the ground up to be exactly the same, but in PHP, 
Perl or Python is also a very well defined goal, although it would 
presumably take much longer

C. but just the *specification* phase for completely new system, with 
new rules and workflows, even based on an existing CMS, will surely take 
longer still than either A or B because, until the spec is done, we 
cannot even estimate when the system will be completed (...a wise man 
once said, in his article on evolt) :-)

>> -dave, Ruthless Self-Appointed "Scope Czar"
> The back of the queue is over there, mate ;-)

/me elbows Martin in the gut (trying to make it look like an accident) 
exposing wry smile as he heads for the end of the line.

More information about the theforum mailing list