Tuesday, March 27, 2007

questions on the limitations of new GE Product on Oracle/Java

(For some reason the RSS feed does not show comment updates, so I wanted to respond to a comment in a new post.)

ninjacodemonkey had some comments on my original article about VMDS/Magik versus Oracle/Java that beg some questions. The comment ends with "Of course, this does depend on GE's willingness and ability to support two competing product lines. Obsolescence is a two-way street my friend."

Questions I have for GE:
  • do you intend to support both Oracle and VMDS product lines into the future? I have heard some unofficial comments about continued investment in the VMDS product line into the future. Could GE communicate how much they plan to invest in Magik/VMDS in the next 5-10 years. Clearly the level of investment would indicate GE's commitment to both both product lines.
  • I am at a bit of a disadvantage in that I was not at GITA 30. Were any readers of this blog at the conference and did any of you hear any communication from GE about investment in existing and new products on VMDS/Magik? I am interested in your comments.

Questions I have for ninjacodemonkey:
  • you state "It [GE's Oracle technology] appears to be a far less functional, less flexible and lower performing application." At the risk of making this sound like a college exam question...
    • can you give an example of less functional
    • can you give an example of less flexible
    • can you give an example of lower performing
  • "mediocrity of Java"
    • Why should customers choose the "proprietariness of Magik" over the "mediocrity of Java"? I think Pedro and Tom have some valid concerns about the cost of Magik developers compared to Java developers. Do you think overcoming the "mediocrity of Java" is worth the extra cost of acquiring Magik skills?
  • It seems to me, though, that some customers might actually benefit from the Oracle/Java product. Can you think of any customer profile that would realize benefits with the new product line?
  • Finally, what do you mean by "Obsolescence is a two-way street my friend."?
Those are my questions for the day. As always I welcome all opinions whether from ninjacodemonkey, stylechimp, casechimp, or any other form of primate.

1 comment:

ninjacodemonkey said...

Bless me father for I have sinned...It has been one year since my last Blog post

Having recently been re-introduced to GE's Oracle Technology (now formally announced as Electric Office PoweredBy Oracle) I can now respond to Alfred's questions.

In response to the question of "less functional", I would say this statement holds true. There is still a limited set of functionality in the product which encapsulates standard Query/View/Print functionality required by any GIS. One example is the query tool which allows single field, aspatial attribute queries. I am sure the product will mature in the future given GE's continued heavy investment in the technology.

On the point of "less flexible" it is still GE's stance the product is not intended for customisation or extension. Therefore, any attempt to customise the product would potentially invalidate the product's support.

On the topic of "lower performing" I think this issue has been addressed. The application as I recently saw it in Seattle was actually quite well performing. I suspect that GE's relationship with Oracle has driven some improvements Oracle's Map Viewer technology.

Ahh...the mediocrity of Java. There is no clear evidence that Java is the platform of choice for deploying heavyweight, graphics intensive applications. When I create an application VB .NET, it takes me 20 minutes to lay out the GUI, compile it and launch my new dead sexy application that performs like a Swiss watch. I have failed to achieve the same results in Java

"What customers will benefit from GE's new product line?" The answer is not in GE's press release. I have heard that they are targeting small to medium-sized utilities in the 300,000 - 500,000 customer range. This may be more rumour than fact.

Finally, What I meant by "obsolescense is a 2-way street" is that Smallworld customers will determine the fate of VMDS. If customers keep buying it, I am sure GE will keep selling it.

Having said all that, I was moderately impressed with progress GE has made with this product. It looks good, renders fast and seems on the surface to be a somewhat viable solution. Once they get some customers on it we will see how well it holds up in a production environment