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Re: [ontolog-forum] Accommodating legacy software

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 15:52:22 -0400
Message-id: <50949466-CE0D-47F9-82AC-A9FFFE2AC398@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Andries -

On Aug 31, 2012, at 12:37 PM, Andries van Renssen wrote:

My experience has been primarily with financial services—insurance, mutual funds, banking—which may very well be far less disciplined than physical engineering work.

I imagine—since I've never worked for an organization that dealt with physical things other than paper—that financial services is rather chaotic & tremendously ill-disciplined.  Financial services is a fashion driven business.  If my competitor is making a lot of money selling a new product, by golly I'd better have that same product on the street by the end of the week... which typically means taking an existing system & mangling the hell out of it.  Does not make for well engineered systems.

The language on our shop floor, being entered as data in databases, uses words for concepts that appeared to have definitions that perfectly fit into a hierarchical taxonomy. 

If the structure of the databases/files/systems already exists & has most likely been modified for decades by many business needs as expressed by programmers, the language is going to be all over the place.  The language & the data structures will not be hierarchical.

I have been told more than once that it is "common" to find flat file structures on RDBMSs... say a single table with 1500 columns.  Hierarchical?

So this means you will IMPOSE a different language structure than the existing/known ones?

Perhaps to their credit (maybe not) humans are incredibly flexible... they can work with something labeled M0101 for years & literally not know an alternative name is MSTR-POL-NO.

On the other hand, if the organization does have a process in place—some do, but they're few & far between—where FIRST project managers/analysts/programmers reference a "central" (doesn't mean it's all in the same place... just looks that way) resource to research what already exists, I'm willing to sing a different tune.

The far more common process that I've experienced & seen is that eventually work lands on the programmers queue & given they can't find what already exists, they simply make up something "new."

- David

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