paul bennett

Web development Vs. the ‘Enterprise’

Posted on: June 17, 2008

I’ve recently been involved in providing some web-centric feedback for the development of proposed ‘enterprise’ eCommerce applications. These mainly public-facing web applications will tie into a large organisations infrastructure.

In the web world, this really shouldn’t be that big a deal, but in the ‘behind-the-firewall’ enterprise world this requires long meetings, architecture diagrams and much chin-scratching. Though most of the back end decisions have been made, I’ve been struck by the difference in approach between ‘enterprise’ and web development.

Web Development is:

  • lightweight (as in libraries and ‘code-weight’)
  • open (standards, formats, access)
  • enough to make things work
  • fast
  • agile
  • iterative
  • cheap (cost of change, cost of tools, time to market)

In contrast, ‘enterprise’ development seems to be:

  • heavy (libraries, licenses)
  • closed
  • everything to everyone
  • slow
  • cumbersome
  • waterfall (“all or nothing” development)
  • expensive (licenses, time to market, cost of change)

I wouldn’t have appreciated how fast and simple web frameworks and open standards have made web application development if I hadn’t been forced to sit through a few meetings being exposed to the “other side”.

Quite honestly, if these projects were attacked from a web application developer’s perspective at least half the work would already be complete. As it stands, with all the architecture diagrams and enterprise products, the projects all languish at the pre-business case level.

Will web agility ever filter down to enterprise software development? Will Enterprise 2.0 ever arrive?


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