Why Modern Application Development Sucks! Death by Objects, Agile, Middleware...

Wed 12:45-1:45 pm - Grand Ballroom I
Dave Thomas, CEO, Bedarra Corporation, Canada

In this talk we take a humorous but critical self examination at modern application development - technology, practices and tools; to try to understand why building and evolving applications is so difficult and expensive. Why is technical debt of epidemic proportions given how great everything is? Where does all the effort and expense really go? We argue it is time to look at the application development value chain to obtain a sensible and balanced way forward so we can leverage new new tools while using the best of old old.

Everyone is aware of the features and benefits of these technologies and practices but is the glass half full or half empty? Can we learn anything from the generations of developers before us? How discerning are we about the next new thing from GOTOCON or vendor X? Are the problems due to skills or latent accidental technical complexity? Are we using the right tools/practices for the right things? Is the iPhone the only place where App development is cool!? Can we help make application development in general much more enjoyable rather than blue collar programming with scrums?


Dave Thomas has a wide spectrum of experience in the software industry as an engineer, professor, consultant, architect, executive and investor. Dave is founder and CEO of Bedarra Corporation; which provides virtual CTO and CEO, business mentoring and seed investment to emerging companies. Recently formed Bedarra Research Labs undertakes speculative research on applications of emerging software technologies.

Dave is best known as the founder and past CEO and president of Object Technology International Inc. (formerly OTI, now IBM OTI Labs)and led the commercial introduction of object and component technology.The company is often cited as the ideal model of a software technology company.

He was also the principal visionary and architect for IBM VisualAge Smalltalk and Java tools and virtual machines including the initial work on popular multi-language Eclipse.org IDE. OTI pioneered the use of virtual machines in embedded systems with Tektronix shipping the first commercial products in 1988. He was instrumental in the establishment of IBM's Pervasive computing efforts and in particular the Java tooling.

Dave is an adjunct research professor at Carleton University, and the University Of Queensland and is widely published in the software engineering literature. He is a popular humorous albeit opinionated keynote speaker. Dave remains active in various roles within the technical community including ECOOP, AOSD, Evolve, and Agile Development Conference, Agile/XP Universe and OOPSLA Onward. He is a founding director of the Agile Alliance and most recently a founder of Open Augment Consortium. Dave writes expert columns in Otland Online in Germany, and the Journal Of Object Technology in Switzerland where he also serves on the editorial board.