Software deveplopment woes

As a person with a long career at IT, it still manages to surprise how things “progress” in development.

A typical software product and development goes in a cycle; a need – solution building – version 1 product. Subsequent iteration improves the product to version 2 and so on.

Especially in a commerce world, where money is everything, this development cycle is a bit different after a few major releases (and typically many years in development). This means multiple developers have evolved the product and at some point the mess will become so big / technology goes obsolete, so the company decides to re-create from scratch (at least when possible to do so) or there is the totally wrong way; re-creating the product just for the money perspective, changes are made to justify more billing NOT based on user needs.

In the end, this creates a totally new product but perhaps made from ground zero. This can be definitely done in a good way; there is already the existing product with known features, userbase and needs.

Then there is the bad way.

I will use the pgAdmin for example. The release 3 was the “old codebase” and then came release 4 and finally release 4 version 2. One would expect it to contain all the features the previous had, or at least the good things in it andd perhaps some new.

The release 4 was made using a new framework with some new features added. I believe there is a totally new group creating the release 4, it has too many problems compared to the previous one.

And striking problem is the quality assurance.

If you start the program, you already can notice something is terribly wrong. The load time is way too long even with a modern machine. The slowness continues even when the program has started. Then there are all the functional problems; fading windows which disappear or animating windows that don’t need to be animated, you can’t change the layout enough, the layout settings are not remembered, viewing the table contents is a major joke; you can view 100 lines but you can’t change the query, instead you have to open a new query window and type the SQL there (or copy& paste it again). The old version enabled the user to change columns one by one – version 4 supports it too BUT YOU HAVE TO SAVE every change by yourself! What happens when you have more rows that can’t fit on single screen? One would have a scrollbar and user just scrolls down. Not with release 4. You can have some rows displayed (even when selected to show all), then scrolling down stops, loads more and scrollbar moves a little. Not seeing enough? Scroll down, yet another stop and load. Want to go to last page? Yes, you can, but you have to click-wait-scroll-click-wait-scroll-click-wait-scroll-click-wait-scroll. Did I mention the release 4 is slow? It is, fading and animated tree-structures help a lot *sigh*

The most stupidest thing were the fading message(s), you could restore the DB but it had some problem, the error was shown but if you did not watch the restore all the time, the message faded away and the user is left wondering what happened. Want to see how long a long query takes? You can, but you must wait and observe the program, it will display how long the query took and will fade it away if you are not fast enough to notice.

pgAdmin is a free product and does not deserve to be blamed. I am sorry for this, but I can not imagine why these kinds of things are not addressed before the release.


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