Green green grass

About a colleague who had a horrible dream. He saw lots of chaos, fake promises and broken dreams. I explained this predicting dream to him and provided him with a solution. Just choose between: sit back or do something about it. An invitation to discusse.

Recently I had a chat with a colleague. He raved about opensource tools. He complained about the lack of shared solution to common problems and also the fact that Uniface is not opensource. My colleague is an excellent Uniface developer and looked around a lot in IT land. Still he sticks with Uniface and knows the limits and borders. Unlike most IT professionals I know, he is not that impressed by the promises most tools make. Once I had a projectmanager who told me (in Dutch), after I dropped a problem: ‘You have concoured yourself a interesting task’. This is a variant of the standard manager answer: ‘What have you done to solve the problem?’. This is what I asked my colleague. He did not understand what I tried to tell ‘m.


Uniface is not opensource. I don’t think it is ever going to be. This really doesn’t matter at all, does it. I try to explain what really does matter. But first we need to travel to Unifaceland!


Here in Unifaceland, there a few levels in the hierarchy. The most interesting: the Uniface developer (the lowest level in the foodchain…), his/her employer (IT company), the Uniface end user (can be a bunisess unit of the employer) and Compuware. This world is very simple. The enduser wants a IT-company to accomplish a dream (after ignoring the question if the dream is realistic). The developer uses the product of Compuware. The developer cooks a solution from all the ingredients Compuware can provide. The developer and/or his employer need to pay Compuware to use their product. The enduser also needs to pay Compuware to use their product. Because the both pay for the product, all inhabitant of Unifaceland wait for Compuware to implement new features. As mentioned, living in this world is not to complicated and can be modeled in a datamodel.


The neighbours live in a more complicated world. There are a lot of levels in the hierarchy. Before anyone saw what really happened, it was too late. It became too hard to model this world, so they defined objects. Now they can define classes of objects. It’s not very certain how it happened, but developers in these types of civilisation shared their knowledge. They encourage each other to build objects and share these. After a while everyone is adjusting the objects everyone and no one knows the status of the objects. In this world the developers have to make stable products out of generated classes of the copies of versions of objects from different types of hierarchy from messages to whatever in wherever in notime. And everyone is happy, because it comes for free! Everything you see is generated for free. Or isn’t it?


And the inhabitant of Unifaceland tried to understand. And because the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, the nice people of Unifaceland became angry. The wanted to communicate with their neighbours, so they demanded Compuware to make Uniface understand webservices. Because they where used to sit back and wait, it took a long time to sort out that the developers could brew a webservice from the standard ingredient for long time already. But it was too late. Some endusers heard about tools that could generate everything you wanted. Just make a wish and the solution was generated. That’s just what they needed! So they invited those wizards to Unifaceland. And all the Uniface developers told Compuware to come with solutions and sat back and wait. In between Compuware tried to modify the market positioning and strategy of their product, asked the developers to provide them with a vision and tried to communicate with the (relaxing) developers. And everyone forgot about them poor endusers….


When my colleague awoke he told me about this horrible dream he had. He dreamed about a land where his beloved product was killed by some fanaticals who infiltreded by the endusers and poisoned them with nice coloured brochures about generated wishes. I told him this predicting dream was his foreland if nothing would happen. He asked me what to do and I remembered him his own remarks about sharing. I told him we should share our problems and solutions. Only when we share both, we can harvest. “But,”, he asked me, “in my dream I saw lots of chaos, fake promises and broken dreams. How to prevent this?” I answered him that we need a leader. Someone will stand up and guide the people through the process. A kind of messiah. Until the savior stands up, we can do 2 thing:
1. sit back and wait.
2. start pave the way for the things to come. Even we don’t know the way to go, together we can decide the direction. Even we don’t know the right processes, we can bring structure. Even we don’t know what to do, we can do something.


Just 2 options? My colleague is busy thinking these things over, meanwhile he sits back and waits for the right answer pops up. Mission accomplished? I sincerely hope that most of you choose the second option. The chances there will arise a Uniface messiah are low. We, Uniface developers, need to to it by ourselfs. I can’t do it by myself, neither can you. But together, perhaps, we can.

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