VISTA Enterprise Network - Successful Implementation, World Class Support

Friday, July 24, 2009

Point 7: Restart the Lifecycle with Fileman and Forum, part one

Dear Reader,

It's taken roughly 1,000 programmers driven by tens of thousands of users over thirty-two years to get VISTA to its current level of sophistication. To achieve a VISTA-lifecycle renaissance will eventually require something similar.

But VISTA didn't start on such a scale. Back when Ted O'Neill and Marty Johnson first launched what they called the MUMPS Systems (VISTA's first name), they only had about twenty-four programmers responding to a small population of users. That was plenty to create a system easily recognizable as the ancestor of today's VISTA, and it'd be plenty to get things moving properly again.

To prime the pump, we should begin even smaller, with two small teams focused on two areas.

First, we should build on Medsphere's excellent File Manager work to create File Manager version 23. Fileman is the easy choice because it's the core architecture for all of VISTA and therefore the most important point at which to begin reinvigorating VISTA, since every VISTA package benefits from Fileman's improvements. That one package'll be enough for us to restart, test, and refine the VISTA software lifecycle.

Second, to refine that lifecycle we'll need to be able to fix or improve its software too - KIDS, NOIS, Patch Module, and the other packages that run on or communicate with Forum - as we proceed with Fileman, so that should be the other subject of our work, the focus of the second VISTA-development team.

This'll require funding for the core developers for each of those packages plus the small constellation of students we need to surround each one with. It'll also require funding for a Forum system manager and his students, a verifier and her students, and a database administrator and his students. The right fifteen to eighteen people could make this fly.

After the prototype lifecycle is up and running, we should plan to expand it to include the Kernel, Victory Programming Environment, and Laboratory packages (for reasons we'll explore in future postings), with a team of four to six people, mostly promising students working under the top gurus for each package.

To be concluded in part two, tomorrow. . . .

Yours truly,

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