Recently I’ve came across this forum thread regarding the future of [DevEx]’ eXpress Persistent Objects for .NET (XPO) ORM product. Customers (actual ones, not potential) are asking whether XPO will someday support n-tier development. They are happily using XPO but they miss a vital part, which is n-tier development. Note that XPO never advertised n-tier support and nobody is arguing that. Perhaps this comment from a customer’s post, where the situation is described:
“As Trevor said, I am one whose core is 100% XPO. The future of my application is tied to XPO. Was this a bad decision? Maybe, but probably not. However, XPO lacks in areas (n-tier) where I really need it to start to shine.”
Later on Oliver from [DevEx] comments that [DevEx] is planning to add, among various features, a multi-tier support. No other details, no dates, no nothing:
“The architectural changes we are planning will result in the potential to support a variety of layered application architectures, including multi-tier ones. So this is good news for you and everybody else waiting for this kind of functionality.”
And crowd goes cheering and applauding. Can this be defined as a true belief? From the point of [DevEx] such a comment in current situation makes sense (I won’t question whether XPO is good or bad and if it is going n-tier or not at this point). What I fail to understand is the crowd. How can it be that you use a product that misses a very important feature for you (from the beginning!) and you are prepared to wait for years to get it? We aren’t talking about a cosmetic feature. No, we are talking about core functionality. And you are happy that somebody is planning someday to deliver that feature, which might suite you or not, without any obligation to deliver (again, I am not questioning [DevEx]).
Generally speaking, is such a belief and faith that the feature will be what you’ve asked for, a good attribute of an architect? Would you choose a product that doesn’t support a core functionality and it might never support it. Knowing that competition is stiff and you have plenty of choices out there that support this feature and more, you are a bad architect if you don’t look around. At least one I wouldn’t trust. This is simply bad practice. If you are basing a core part of your application on something, it should work from the start. Gambling on future is not an option.