Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Community Voices

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Not So Very High Tech

April 25, 2008

Today I spent the day giving a workshop for a small group of my colleagues. We all work at a large Dutch ICT company which implements and supports, among others, large scale scanning and imaging solutions.

One product in particular was the subject of today’s workshop. Let’s call the product ‘World Class Capture’ for the moment. Since ‘World Class Capture’ is indeed one of the leading vendors expectations of my, mostly younger, colleagues were high since this product must be High Tech! Probably expectations were a little bit too high afterwards.

When we entered the realm of the build-in scripting and programming possibilities I noticed a kind off disappointment. No web services? No .NET based assemblies? No beautiful Object Oriented interface? No Next High Tech Thing? No. Nope.

And they were right indeed. The only two build-in programming things in ‘World Class Capture’ are a pesky COM interface and a bloody ancient basic interpreter.

Since I have been working with this product, also among others, for the past seven years I did get used to the shortcomings and discrepancies. However, viewing things from a small distance again I wondered Why, What and How.

Why does ‘World Class Capture’ keep this old vehicle in the product? Well, suppose they would replace it with something High Tech! Than the answer is not too difficult. A lot of existing implementations would break after an upgrade.

What can ‘World Class Capture’ do to evolve to some New Technology? First of all, why should they? They have a large market share after all. So the product is good enough indeed. Maybe one day someone at ‘World Class Capture’ wakes up.

How should they change the product? Well. Keep it backwards compatible off course. Envisioning a new major version with the ‘old’ programming tools alongside some New High Tech Thing for the future is not that difficult, however.

For today to my colleagues and me it seems that a large part of today’s real world software implementations aren’t fancy high tech at all. Millions or billions of paper documents are scanned and processed using the assistance of some bloody ancient basic interpreter called Softbridge Basic Language.

With Kind Regards,
Aad Slingerland
The Netherlands


Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.