Six Ways to Build Reliable Applications


In his CM: the Next Generation, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.

understand what a NG database must look like to support a general set of engineering applications.

On top of that, we knew from the start, that automation and zero administration were important goals. Even after completing the initial NGDB architecture, we took the time to understand what potential clients said was number one in our target market requirements (customization) making the tool work the way the customer wanted. This molded most of our efforts beyond the NGDB design. We would seriously consider whether or not customization would be required for each feature and err on the "yes" side. But we would also consider how to build an architecture that was easy to customize.

When GUIs came along, this became a priority as well. If every site had different customizations, we did not want to get into customers having to paint forms, create dialogs, etc. We wanted the tools to do the tedious work, while the customer just identified what information was desired.

In fact, with each release, one of the largest components of the release is to support customization more easily and more widely. If it's easier for the customer, it's easier for us to sell and to support. So the business case for this effort is easy.

At the same time, we would not compromise on reliability. This meant simplicity where possible, especially when interfacing to outside elements. A multiple site solution has to interface with outside elements so must be kept simple if automation is to result. An automatic baseline capability is anything but simple, by definition, but does not have to interface to outside elements, as long as all of the information is in the CM repository.

Aim High
It's complex, and yes, gut-wrenching, to bite off more than you can easily handle. But if you don't bite off enough, you pay for it later. The single biggest problem with the

About the author

Joe Farah's picture Joe Farah

Joe Farah is the President and CEO of Neuma Technology and is a regular contributor to the CM Journal. Prior to co-founding Neuma in 1990 and directing the development of CM+, Joe was Director of Software Architecture and Technology at Mitel, and in the 1970s a Development Manager at Nortel (Bell-Northern Research) where he developed the Program Library System (PLS) still heavily in use by Nortel's largest projects. A software developer since the late 1960s, Joe holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. You can contact Joe at

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