I haven’t read much coverage of the big Windows 8 unveil today, but it looks to be pretty positive.
One thing that jumped out while I skimmed was something about how easy some tool was for non-developers to use to create apps.
That use case is bad penny that refuses to get out of circulation. It’s been around as long as I can remember, which is a very long time in development years, and I wish we could all get on with our lives and accept that non-developers don’t want to build software, regardless of how “easy” we make it.
It seems like a good idea, creating tools to allow users to be self-sufficient, thereby allowing developers to work on the big projects, but inevitably, the outcome is tools that are confusing, slow and ultimately underused.
The problem is that you’re asking developers to build a tool that represents all their mighty skill, i.e. a Frankenapp. So, any PM unlucky enough to try to harness this beast is faced with the impossible task of creating a subset of infinite capabilities.
And finally, when users are presented with a tool that meets their supposed needs, they always, every time, forever gravitate to the path of least resistance, which is ask a developer for help. So you end up with developers training users how to use a tool that does exactly what they could do themselves in less time.
See the problem here?
Turns out teaching someone to fish is difficult, especially if that person is a truck driver by trade and is paid to haul fish, not catch fish.
Cool metaphors aside, analysts don’t want to write reports, they want to analyze reports.
So, can we please stop trying to make development self-service?
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