[LINK] Lotus Notes Bottomless Pit - Was Australian Government Data Centre as a Service

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Wed Mar 2 21:01:53 AEDT 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Roger Clarke
> Sent: Wednesday, 2 March 2011 12:58 PM
> To: Link list
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Australian Government Data Centre as a Service
> >On 02/03/2011, at 12:34 PM, Roger Clarke wrote:
> >>  A proportion of business functions can be supported by 
> standardised 
> >> apps.  Custom-building or customisation can be dispensed with, 
> >> because  there's not a lot of harm done by having to fit those 
> >> particular  business processes to the software rather than the 
> >> software to the  business processes.  Think doc prep, spreadsheet 
> >> modellers, calendar, time-sheets, etc.  But government 
> agencies do a 
> >> great many things that very few other  organisations do. [snip]
> At 12:43 +1100 2/3/11, Stilgherrian wrote:
> >Except that there are now generic tools for modelling "business"
> >workflows. Filling in forms, validating against criteria, passing 
> >through stages of approval -- all are now available as generic 
> >building-blocks in these higher-level workflow tools.
> C'mon Stil, you're old enough.  Remember Lotus Notes?  This isn't new.
> In any case, these are still bespoke apps, not standardised apps.
> They're delivered by means of a development tool that enables the 
> 'coder' to operate at a more abstract level, with a 'later 
> generation' development tool, and to [hopefully] deliver the app more 
> cheaply, faster and/or better [choose two]: 
> http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/SwareGenns.html > (see Exhibit 
> 4)
> >Even the creation of legislation is "just" collaborative document
> >production with attached commentary and discussion.
> >I question whether it's all really as different, or even unique, as 
> >some people make.
> All no, some yes.

Fascinating insight into the mind of an academic. (:-))

It is my fervent belief that spreadsheets are used by sql luddites.
And SQL gurus have no use or understanding of spreadsheets (except to
track asset numbers when it comes time for budget requests...)

As a person that was weaned on VisiCalc DB-1, UFS,  Quattro Pro,
Paradox, Lotus 123, DB II, Q&A, Javelin, Oracle, Symphony, DB III, VXFS,
Ingress, MySQL
(in approximately that order, I can say that only those persons that are
unfamiliar with rdbms tools would eschew the convenience in favour of
using a storage and memory hungry 65k line flat file alternative...

Notwithstanding the above, Those that are too busy learning regs and
management probably don't have the time to learn RDBMS.

Ergo, Spreadsheets are used by non compsci persons, or, by compsci
persons that wish to distribute their creations in a linear fashion to
non sql capable users.

i.e.: As an interpreter, Excel leaves most consumer tools for dead for
ease of interfacing. (Omitting crystal reports...)

Note I included File Systems because we used to use Procfs
(ICL/Sun/Fujitsu) as an extremely fast database system in the years
before relational databases...

With reference to your exhibit 4... I would venture an opinion that one
of the above delineated programmes did qualify as a 4th Gen language,
Javelin but it disappeared into one of the RDBMS worlds, which is a
shame, because it was the only environment capable of handling data in
four dimensions (in the eighties). On that basis, these days I guess,
Star office, and Excel qualify as 4GL, because although unwieldy as a
DB, they allow the artist to produce a result without them needing to
learn the underlying (procfs) constructs. Which was your point I believe

I was lucky, I didn't get to Lotus notes until 1996, by which time I
considered I was too old to code and hired other persons to do it....
<GRIN> which allowed me to fiddle with the raw data and get things done
in half the time using the non-automatic old tools than my staffs Lotus
Notes "shield the customer" from real programming...

I can say only one thing about my Lotus Notes Experiences, (this applies
to all customer shielding "4GL's"). We wasted more money undoing the lay
persons data entry management glitches than we would have spent had we
used a pebble based counting system using buckets to store the pebble

Some 4GL's were designed to suck people in to an ever sinking bottomless
pit of money wasting desperation... "But all our data is inside Lotus



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