[Business] Long-Tail Software - the power of components
Several companies have come up with several tools - purportedly to tailor to all these users. Joe Kraus himself plugs Jotspot. But in my opinion, the only type of companies who have actually been able to tap into this market are .. IBM, SAP, Inductis.
Oops... why is that?
In the business world, people dont look at a software - they way it looks, the way it can be customised, the way it can be changed - and then plan their requirements. It is usually..mostly, the other way around. We have learned this, the hard way.
However, it is possible to attain near 100 % customisability, with tools written in a way that allows them near independence.
For example, look at IBM. What are the tools that IBM uses for its business applications - Tomcat, Apache, php, perl. Each of this can exist individually. Each of this can be fixed individually.
What this means is a developer base, both within and outside the company that allows for almost complete compartmentalisation of performance issues, bugs, etc. Of course it is an easy argument, that components must be bound together very strongly to have predictable impact on performance, but this is very difficult to do in practice.
Look at Google for example. Its entire system is built for independent existence of different components. I do not believe that Google News is indexed in the same manner as Google search (given the Google API, why then havent we seen a better Google News by a garage hack).
When different components exist individually, can be run individually and therefore can be debugged individually, it is now the job of the sales guy to make a pitch to sell a solution, rather than a product.
Now it is much simpler - "I'll make you anything you want", rather than "You can do whatever you want with it".
I wish the best to Jotspot. Lets see if they give an API to program with.