Case Study: Emotional Attachment to a DIY Middleware

Author(s): Andreas

A software development company for insurance software developed its own CORBA like middleware that integrated an ORB, DCOM services and a lot more nifty features.

It was the time of the dot-com bubble and the company was growing very fast due to a lot of money they got by going on the stock markets.

What was the good idea?

The idea was to have one slim middleware that fitted every demand and it integrated well with all other existing customer software like office tools and backend services.

It was thought to be cheaper since they developed it on their own and they did not have to pay licenses for the existing industrial solutions. The developers had fun making interesting software – at this time money was not an issue. And they fell in love with it.

So every project had to use this middleware since they were developing it.

What were the bad consequences, why was everything bad?

The development of the middleware was very expensive. It was not their field of expertise and not the field the company was earning money with. It was very complicated to set up a software due sparse documentation.

Each time a problem arouse one of the middleware team was involved. When a new piece of software was running on a developer machine it was an enormous effort to get it running in production environment.

Which patterns were encountered?

Emotional Misattachment

How was the situation resolved?

In this case it would have been easy to use a standard industrial solution.

Sometimes it is easy to get into such a situation even with the best intentions, but is always important to reflect from time to time if the special way you took is really still worth it.

But reality stroke faster in this case than any possible solution, when the dot com bubble burst the company got into enormous economical problems that ended these technical endeavors.