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Disposable Software

Alex Bunardzic has a nice post on what he’s calling “Disposable Software”:

The original disposable software platform is Microsoft Excel. This platform is used all over the world for cobbling up quick-and-dirty software driven systems. From soccer Moms’ flaky game schedule to the local community center Fall pottery class schedule, Excel spreadsheet are the reliable workhorses pulling the carts of social and group dynamics.

The problem with Excel spreadsheets is that they are not networked. They tend to be flaky little islands of information, with a tendency to clone themselves and then deteriorate over time. The end result is that many of these social groups end up with eighteen versions of the same schedule in eighteen different spreadsheets, and no one knows for sure which version is the correct one.

Because of that, group dynamics is much better served on the web.

Amen, brother. Alex is suggesting the well-known Ruby on Rails platform as the solution. I’m not sure I agree (Excel users, read through his description of how he built an app with Rails, and tell me if it makes any sense to you) but I love the term.

It’s not that our goal with Dabble is to make all software disposable - we take great care to make it possible to sustain the use and of reuse software that was started as a throwaway (Software Recycling?) - but sometimes you really do just want to play around with some data, make a decision, and drop it. We’re working on some features to make that easier with Dabble; look for a post on them soon.


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