Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why Maven Sucks (as compared to good old ant)

Maven is a build tool for Java. It suuuuuuuuuucks. I am not alone in thinking this.

Get out while you still can.
[Ship, 2007]

Any other community would be like "what the hell is this?"
[Rocher, 2008]

While you may think of the Maven 2 version you downloaded as building your code, it actually is just an engine that by itself, can't build squat. When you start Maven 2, it will try to download the latest and greatest of every core plugin, the bits that actually do the work. This means that even though two developers are using Maven 2.0.8, they could be using different plugin versions and therefore, the build is not consistent.
[Brown, 2008] (Maven patch submitter)

Maven suffers from a lack of flexibility and robustness
[Hanin, 2008]

It might cost you as much time to build your first Maven project as it does to LEARN Ant and build your first complex project.
[Carapetyan, 2008] (Maven evangelist)

Do they have a chapter called "Why do the repositories suck so much?" :)
[TSS Comment on free Maven book]

It introduces additional dependencies in your build process.

- Dependencies suck. The simple formula for operational availability is to multiply the availabilities of the interdependent systems. When you start with maven, there are a lot more things that have to be running- just to be able to compile some code. This is a measurable cost.

It introduces additional complexity in your build process.
- You are adding a lot of code to a project by adding Maven. You are adding dependent jars without necessarily knowing where they came from. If you build your own jar repository- it is a significant amount of work. If you don't, you are at the mercy of the Internet.

It is hard to debug when something is going wrong.

It took us a couple of days to get working. And then it immediately broke again. With completely different errors on three separate developer machines.

The side of evil will persistently keep trying to shoehorn maven into their projects and pretend they’re enjoying it. The side of good would rather gnaw off their own unmentionables than touch maven, and merrily keep getting things done faster, better, and lighter with ant (without paying Bruce Tate any denomination of any currency).
[Hani, 2004]

[Edit, 2009]
New graph of Maven adoption curve! 

Go check out the above link for more...


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Business and IT, together again

“Running separate IT and business functions is not going to have a future, because there are companies out there that do it differently, do it faster and deliver business value. And as soon as folks start to learn that, they are going to start questioning their own IT set up.”
− Robert McGill, Standard Life, Edinburgh, Scotland

From Mary Poppendieck's slides here. The point being that this is IT+Business as an extension of the XP "onsite developer" concept.

The most rewarding period of my career was like this: working as part of a mission team, creating software for them, as it was needed to get our job done. Then came the CIO- in the name of killing off "duplicate" efforts they came at us. We had been smart and extracted a product from our work and had been offering it to other divisions in return for help in funding the organization. So was another group. Instead of taking a market based approach and letting the two applications find their niche- they had to merge us.

Oh, and at the same time as you merge the two systems, take these complex desktop applications and turn them into a web application that is 10 times slower and has almost none of the capabilities of the other systems. And use web standards that prevent adding usability features. And do everything with this XML services stuff that seems to be the future. Cue abject failure.

And then it happened again. And again. Soon the CIO is populated by tons of PowerPoint pushers with agendas and favorite technologies. Development talent is promoted into positions where they don't...make things. Budget is growing. No one I work with has seen a user for a long time. Does any of this software ever reach users? All we hear is they hate it and don't want it...So why are we doing it?

I've had the fortune to work on lots of good projects, but I have to say the whole concept of sucking IT out of the business and making it it's own shop that makes things for the business is not as effective as the opposite in 90% of cases I have seen. I do believe in core services of identity management, PKI, etc. But very very thin core services. I believe the CIO should have a budget to fund integrating core technologies and to sponsor the cost of implementing minimal standards across groups. But overall, it's a concept that doesn't make sense for most organizations.

According to Ms. Poppendieck, "You don’t get to be world class by chasing 'best practices'. You get there by inventing them." I don't care who invented it- let's just do it.