Modernising an app (dev platform) can be like refurbishing your house

Recently I read a lot of blog posts and other communications about “app (dev platform) modernisation”. In some areas it’s an ongoing talk. When I read and hear about that I’m always remembered about refurbishing a house.


Imagine you’ve your house. It’s 25 years old. You lived in there for a long time. You like it (otherwise you won’t live there). And from time to time you’re going to improve it. New lights in the entrance, a new and more secure front door, some new paintings, etc. All the usual stuff.


And sometimes you want – or need – a bigger change. Like a complete new kitchen or bathroom. Lots of work, lots of time, lots of investment. But it’ll be totally cool and shiny. It’ll be the best part of the house for some time for you. Maybe not for the rest of the family.


And then the children grow up. They need more, other space. So you plan. And plan. And plan. Then you’re going to change a whole floor. Moving walls, door, windows. It’ll be dirty, it’ll be unliveable for some time, it’ll cost a lot. Hopefully everyone is happy with the changes (all is shiny, so I’d say yes). But then there is still the garden that… you know what’s coming.


So why I’m saying this? Because when you talk about “app (dev platform) modernisation” you’ve basically two options to make “the family” happy. You either renovate a whole floor, that accommodates everyones needs (not really possible) – or you buy a new house where everyone wants to live in. Because the expectation is that the “modernisation” is at large scale. Not less.


So when you talk about modernising your “app (dev platform)” it’ll be pretty clear that you’ve to invest a lot. It’ll take time. It’ll take resources. It’ll take money. It doesn’t matter if you buy a new house – or do a whole floor. And you’re hopefully done with it before the kids decide to leave the house as they are grown-ups now.


If you do it only in small scale, like changing some bulbs and a some new windows… no one will like it.



11 thoughts on “Modernising an app (dev platform) can be like refurbishing your house

  1. I agree Renee, I ended up buying a new house in California. best move I ever made! But I did keep the old house too because it still offers value. That might work in the application modernization world too.

    1. The question is how long you can – or want – to keep the old house. You can rent it to other people to cover the costs, not sure how that works with the modernisation approach. 😉

  2. A good post, because it helps to answer a very good question: Do I really need to build a new house just because I want to have a new kitchen? And is it worth the effort and money to build a new house while you still have to pay (taxes, energy, etc.) for the old house?
    In most cases you are unable to build the second house near to the first one, so you have to deal with a relocation: a new neighborhood, a new school for the kids, a new trip to work.
    And mostly it ends up with a not (yet) finished new house, because “the deadline to leave the old building” was reached. So you have a new, unfinished house, which is dirty and unliveable for some time, and it’ll cost a lot more then expected.

    1. You can do it like Peter: buy a new house. And probably keep the old one till you want to get rid of it. There are many variations. Like wait till the kids are out of house, buy a condo and sell the old house.

          1. The problem comes when somebody else is choosing which is unneeded stuff. Which is normally not me, but my wife. And there are a lot of different opinions about what is needed and what can be thrown away.

            Yesterday I worked on an application which is not needed now for more then 10 years. The company migrated away long ago and the old house should be demolished. It is still there, and must be payed. And the new house is still not finished.

            This is not an isolated case. It is the general case.

  3. And then you get to the point where you wish the kids would move out so you could turn their room into a games room or home cinema, and make it really nice. But the kids are happy living in the same house, because it’s easier than getting their own house. And although you keep nagging them and their friends might tell them it’s time to move on, it’s just easier to keep doing what they’ve always done. So you’re stuck, frustrated you can’t have your home cinema. And your wife’s frustrated that she can’t do what she wants to do with the room. And you’re both frustrated you’re effectively stuck in the past.

    Maybe the way to make them move out is just to go ahead and “deprecate” their room in favour of something new.

    I won’t talk about the dutiful child who’s been saving carefully, paying you rent every week, tidying their room, doing all you’ve asked even though you’ve promised to give them some money towards a deposit on a new house, but got side-tracked on paying for various other things, but still gets the same promises, and is now told that if they wait a bit longer, they’ll get more, but no clarification on when or how much. Maybe they’ll just go out and buy a small flat, though it’s far from ideal…

  4. Good analogy. Some additional considerations:

    How do I move my house to the cloud; or at least parts of it? Location is often the constraining factor. It’s hard to move a house. My brother did it (over Santa Susan Pass Rd. in L.A., try that). Moving a house or more commonly, moving to a different house, changes your whole environment including the available amenities and opportunities.

    Adding to a house is constrained by available space on your property and by regulations but it may meet your needs for the foreseeable future.

    If I could move my house from the Nevada desert to a coastal community in California, it would triple in value; but the cost of the land, much higher property taxes, traffic and other factors would have to be considered (plus that’s way too far to move a house).

    Anyhow, your house and your application live in a context. Location, location, location.

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