About every five years I learn something about my craft. This is an average; the last seismic shift happened in 2002, but the one before it happened in 1995.
It's happening again. This time, I'm learning how my craft gets in the way of my business.
For the past three years (since the last time a two-by-four hit me) I've worked on the Inner Drive Extensible Architecture™, a comprehensive framework on which Inner Drive can build marketable applications. It's a masterpiece, in the way a fine, ornate table would demonstrate the competence of a 17th-century carpenter.
It turns out, I missed the advent of steam.
See, other people have already done it, and they're giving away their code. So over the past few weeks I have slowly come to realize that there is no point continuing this effort in the same way.
This demonstrates a constant, historic tension in business software: Build or Buy. Build something exactly the way you want, or buy something that's close enough.
Open source software, like Das Blog and DotNetNuke, makes this choice even more stark. Can one countenance spending 600 development hours on creating something that has half the features of something anyone can download for free?
More on this later, as I refactor the IDEA to extend, rather than duplicate, the mass of free stuff out there.