Can End User Development Solve The Standards Puzzle?

Have you tried developing for the web recently? Did you find the broad range of forms, formats and requirements to be helpful or a hindrance?

The chances are that you fell into the second camp; any IT specialist dabbling their programming hands in the complicated world of the web is likely to be left feeling frustrated. There are, quite simply, too many standards – and the only way out is end user development.

Without standards, web development is a mess. Programmers in different parts of the business create a series of different platforms, preventing integration and creating specific point solutions.

Where those solutions work, problems are hidden. But when the business tries to bring together and consolidate existing developments, IT specialists are left with an almost impossible migration effort.

Lack of standards mean coders are left with an incomplete puzzle of different approaches to web development. Trying to establish order in such a fragmented world is very, very tough.

Help should come in the form of cross-platform integration, such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). But concerns arise there, too.

As Jeff Vroom suggests in his recent excellent article for The Register (see further reading, below): “I haven’t found one platform that offers all features in a portable, open way that would gather enough momentum to establish standards.”

Don’t look to the big vendors, either. Vroom – like many other commentators – believes the big players are unlikely to prevent fragmentation by the removal of extra frameworks that can be used to create more expensive, but more complex, standard platforms.

Options need to be cut; formats need to be reduced and code needs to be easily re-used. So, what is the answer? Most likely – and as I have suggested a number of times – end user development (EUD).

We need to give power to the people in the business, allowing end users to create tools from their desktop. EUD can help cut costs and boost efficiencies across a wide range of technology areas, such as web design, collaboration and modelling.

The user knows what they want to achieve. We should give them the framework independent-means to achieve that objective. End user development really is a means to slashing the amount of forms and formats.

Dharmesh Mistry is the CTO/COO of Edge IPK, a leading provider of front-end Web solutions. Within his blog, “Facing up to IT”, Dharmesh considers a number of technology issues, ranging from Web 2.0, SOA and Mobile platforms, and how these impact upon business. Having launched some of the very first online financial services in 1997, and since then delivering online solutions to over 30 FS organisations and pioneering Single Customer View (Lloyds Bank, 1989) and Multi Channel FS (Demonstrated in Tomorrow’s World in 99), Dharmesh can be considered a true veteran of both the Financial Services and Technology industries.