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In other words: “why is software so difficult”, but in English it has a nice double meaning. Because sometimes it seems as if software has become the ‘hardest’ part. I regularly come across situations in companies that use software from 30 years ago or more, with fairly minimal adjustments. The rest of the company has already changed completely at that time: it makes different products, different people work there, people have already switched offices twice. The hardware that the software runs on has also been replaced at least once. So what’s actually ‘soft’ about that software?

If you check the literature, supplemented with some personal experience, one problem emerges as a constant: it is difficult to fully understand what a piece of software of any complexity does. With a good development team, this should still be possible during the construction phase, but software that lasts longer requires more. Even if it has lingered for years, it must be possible to understand the specifications and then make adjustments. Alan has certain features that make this possible, even in the long run, but more on that later in this article. First I will discuss why this is so difficult with current software technology. …


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Integrations are hard, anyone who has ever done any serious integration projects will tell you that.

Why? Every new system gives us a new dimension of complexity. Certain logic can be in one system or another. It could even be both and work together in some unknown, intricate way. Add a few extra systems and you have a very hard puzzle to untangle when you want to fix or change something. At the heart of that problem is a dependency explosion that takes place

Figure 1: the dependency explosion that takes place when adding multiple integrations in traditional software platforms (either code, low code or no…


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Ofwel: “waarom is software zo moeilijk”, maar in het Engels heeft het een mooie dubbele betekenis. Want het lijkt soms wel alsof software het ‘hardste’ onderdeel is geworden. Ik kom regelmatig situaties tegen bij bedrijven waarin men gebruik maakt van software van 30 jaar geleden of meer, met vrij minimale aanpassingen. De rest van het bedrijf is in die tijd dan al compleet veranderd: het maakt andere producten, er werken andere mensen, men is al twee keer van kantoor gewisseld. Ook de hardware, waar die software op draait, is dan al minstens één keer vervangen. …


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New Alan users often ask me the question: does that really work, a generated user interface? Don’t users still want a user interface that is tailor-made, because otherwise it is not user-friendly enough? It was also mentioned in the LinkedIn comments on my previous article.

I think the assumption that a generated user interface is not user-friendly enough is based on experiences with generated user interfaces that were never intended to form a complete user interface. It was impossible in those cases, because the underlying model was not complete enough for that. Think of generators based on a relational database model. These are often referred to as ‘scaffolding’, indicating that they were never intended to be used by end users. …


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In my previous post about low-code and no-code platforms , I discussed what these platforms can and cannot do. In short, their goal of making code superfluous by replacing it with a graphical editing environment, is useful for certain types of applications and developers. However, it does not help if you have to create more complex applications. The point is that the modeling language(s) under the hood should actually be better. And that has not changed significantly with these platforms.

Ask developers of complex applications what makes it so complex and you can take for granted that they will not say it is because they have to write code instead of dragging and selecting in a graphical editing environment. In fact, I suspect that most would find it a terrible idea to have to do that. …


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In the enterprise software development market, a lot of attention is currently being paid to low-code and no-code platforms. To a lesser extent, there is also talk of model-driven. Typically, in promoting these types of platforms, emphasis is placed on having to code (typing lines of code) less or not at all and a graphical editor supposedly being the better alternative. But you can put a graphic skin around everything. The unanswered question is whether the underlying model of software development is better than before. I do not think so.

What do those terms in the title actually say? Unfortunately, not that much. As noted, the only thing you can assume is that you have to ‘code’ less and that a graphical user interface is offered as an alternative, in which you can create and update your software. Some investigating shows that they also contain all the underlying concepts of ‘modern’ application development: a data model, the ability to perform all kinds of functions and procedures and an independently configurable graphical user interface for the application to be delivered. Three separate models that describe three aspects. It fits seamlessly with the 3-layer model in the application development of the past 30 years. …

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