Alternate / Parallel Story

Think about this picture. It's a pretty basic "entertainment system" – which is what most of us have today. When you put it to paper, it looks a little more confusing than you may have thought, but it works and works well.

Here are some of the characteristics that draw parallels to our software component story.

  • My "system" is broken down into discrete pieces to perform their functions – each thing has its own purpose
  • Each piece can individually be replaced by different models, manufacturers and/or upgraded to take advantage of latest technologies – all without having to change out everything. For example, when I bought my new bluray, I didn't have to change anything else (except maybe a cable here and there)
  • I've been able to extend into the cloud and continuously open up new opportunities without changing out most (if any) of my hardware or infrastructure
  • I know the level of granularity that I am buying with these consumer devices seems to be comparable to the traditional level of granularity with applications – they're not. Here's why:
    • Look at what's inside each of these components – they're made up of small pieces themselves (e.g. circuit boards, switches, wires, cpu, disks, etc.)
    • While they're all "separate" pieces, their "source" is generally the same. None of these companies manufacture their own parts. If they did, costs would be through the roof.
    • Each of those parts are designed and manufactured to perform their individual functions that are then tied up into the devices themselves
  • What makes all of this integration possible is that each device has interfaces, can react to events, do not know anything about the other devices, and only has access to information specific to it. They can work in a standalone manner or in concert with one another.
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"… some of the components you have in your system can be there until it no longer works. If I don't need new features or it's not a priority, I can leave it alone.
  • Over a 10 year period, I've upgraded and changed most things, but on an incremental basis that meets my schedule, budget, and needs.

In contrast, I remember my parent's old stereo "system". It had a turntable, tape player (yes, 8-track), radio, and speakers all built into a nice cabinet. Sure we can call these functions as "components", but when the CD came around, the whole thing went out to the curb.

I'm a consumer, paying relatively small amounts for my entertainment system to give me these benefits. Why would a business paying millions of dollars expect anything less?
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