An Imperfect Understanding of Where Features Come From

This post is one of the 152 I published between 2011 and Feb 2015

Updated Feb 11, 2012

Within an hour of publishing my latest podcast, “The Moneyball of Joomla ecommerce“, I received a tweet asking me why anyone would “invest” in my thing without a “solid development plan”.Listening to my “Moneyball” podcast, it’s obvious that I’m not looking at my Club Commerce/LaSalleMart conventionally. This is because convention has left us frustrated, yearning for code!

If we approach our own code development conventionally, then why will we avoid the ailments and pathologies we are seeking to avoid?

Chapter 1, section 1.1 of “Jenkins: The Definitive Guide” opens:

In fact it is a real game changer – when Continuous Integration is introduced into an organization, it radically alters the way teams think about the whole development process… going from a simple scheduled automated build right through to continuous delivery into production.

Circumventing the Joomla installer is a liberating idea. Using “automated builds” to created hundreds of simultaneous versions has a lot of value. Thinking of software development as “upstream” and “downstream” processes opens up a lot of value.

My original idea was to run a club of Tienda clients, so my clients could share the costs of common modifications. The software development process extended to maintaining a custom Distro of Tienda. Since the only one working on this Distro was, essentially, just me, what process did we need? Much time was spent on Live Update, so my clients can effortlessly grab the latest and greatest version.
Well, here we are, at what is the logical conclusion of our journey: that we have to be in the Joomla extension business. We have to create/maintain our own Joomla ecommerce software. This is an entirely different proposition than being in the modifications business.
The last thing I want to do is recreate the problems my clients and I are escaping – principally, vapourware. So, if a “solid development plan” means “tell me when your features will be released”, then I don’t see the point.

Furthermore, our list of features is vast. Practically bottomless. We are starved for features. It’s one thing to be the “mouse on the wheel” for a finite amount of customizations; but, it’s an entirely different thing faced with practically an infinite amount of programming using a ton of programmers for a wide spectrum of site owners and consultants. The question is not “what” and “when”. The real question is “how”.

Researching “how” unearthed surprises. There is a world of opportunity in the “how”. The “how” is where the real value is. As consultants and site owners, we can customize the “how” to suit our purposes. The right to change the code has led us to owning our software development process. Which leads us to Continuous Integration, which is involves testing and building. It is the building that we will blaze a trail.


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