I am a fossil, or more accurately, I should say that I'm a fossil record. Or perhaps the better metaphor would be that I'm like one of those ice cores geologists drill from the depths of the Arctic. If you were to sink a drill deep into my head (and I know many of my former colleagues would like to), you would find evidence of the many fads, trends, and revolutions that have constantly reshaped corporate IT over the past 30 years recorded in my brain like the stratified deposits within an ice core. By examining such ice cores, geologists arrive at a deeper understanding of our planet, and by examining the ice core in my brain, I will endeavor for us to arrive at a deeper understanding of Planet IT. I have not only been present for the many tectonic shifts that periodically rock our industry, I have usually been standing directly on the fault line, intimately involved as a leader, manager, and practitioner of application development.
I want to emphasize the "practioner" part of what I just said. Years ago, my colleagues and I would tell each other (half-) jokingly, "Don't trust anybody who doesn't log on". This was shorthand for our belief (which I still hold) that anybody who no longer understands the technology is inherently ineffective in directing IT initiatives. This does not mean that management needs to write code, but management does need to understand a fairly large body of key technical principles since these significantly impact the planning and execution of any IT project.
I myself have continued to write code in spite of having spent many years in fairly senior management positions (at Sun, for example, I managed 300 people). Hopefully as I delve into the subtleties of Rich Internet Application Architecture in the following series of posts, you will trust that my views are derived not just from a consideration of battles viewed from the safety of an underground bunker back at central command, but also while engaged in fierce trench warfare myself.
This experience, coupled with the ice core in my brain that informs my views with a deep (and painful) appreciation of all that has gone (wrong) before hopefully convinces you that my insights are more valuable than what you would find in a random blog post. (And yes, I realize that this is itself a random blog post and my last comment was a referential recursion of sorts that probably blew the stack of several unsuspecting readers).
In any event, I do hope you'll join me in my next few posts for an exploration of Rich Internet Application Architecture (I hesitate to call this RIAA since it's the RIAA that sues people for downloading Britney Spears singles), but before we begin, let's all go write some code.