Go, Do, Be.


Zombie Technology

By: Chris Greacen - 12/10/2007
I use it, I support it. We all should support it.

What is it? It's dead technology, but it's still walking around your house, making a mess.

While I'm not really a Luddite, I think we could all benefit from spending some quality time with something that's past its time. Part of the problem with software (in general) and especially some of the open source doodads is the bloat and excess that a project tends to accumulate.

You already know the bloat:

  • Windows -- no brainer, right? Look at any metric and its clear that the growth is intense. Is the user-experience or utility that much better? You tell me. I heard someone (was it Mitch Kapor?) famously say that he was 'done upgrading windows' in 1999. The prospect of quarterly (monthly? Weekly?) updates was too much. He dedicated the time that he would have spent upgrading to his family or something more rewarding.
  • Java -- sure! Bloat! Even Lew Tucker, one of its creators complains about its puffed-up state. Sure some of the growth is useful, is it contributing to more reliable, usable software? You tell me.
  • Rails -- The original rails package was supposed to be pretty lean. I didn't use it, but the word on the blogs is that the current release has some fat to cut... Watch out for he next one.
  • Php -- Absolutely. This software has the special case of having a gang of loosely people contributing to some of these features. It's inevitable that this will reach the bloat-point of others in this list.

Bloat leads to fear, fear to hatred, hatred to the dark side: abandoning the thing that was once useful. I ran across railo the other day and WOW! They've put together an open-source engine that runs cfml spaghetti, and amazingly enough, I got this site to run on first shot (more easily than most of the megabytes of open source crap I've tried). Still, I'm left with more questions than answers:

  • Is this some kind of technology long-tail play?
  • Why would someone put something like this together?
  • Who would pay for this license?

Which brings me to the REAL point of this post. I'll announce soon the release of two new open-source projects: TestingTesting and bashWebTest. Both are entirely based on zombie technology: Cold Fusion and Bash.

  • TT is a test case management tool mainly aimed at manual testers. It is crude and built entirely with zombie technology.
  • bashwebtest -- well... This is zombie technology. There's a built-in cap to what it'll do.

Ok, so maybe Bash isn't zombie technology after all. But is bash your go-to technology when you need to do some web testing? No? Well maybe this tool is born-zombie.