Paul C. Williams

Interfacing Technology & Business
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Which technology is better: X or Y?

I always wonder why these kinds of arguments exist. Technology exists to solve problems, and at any given time a particular technology tool may solve a problem.

In reality, the question which will get answered isn't "What is better: X or Y?" but "What do you find more fun: X or Y?"

So, the question to ask is not "What is better: X or Y?" Instead, we should ask: will X solve my problem faster than Y, or will Y be better than X today.

The factors involved in this analysis vary from project to project, but should include the following:
  1. Is there prior art that can be leveraged in either X or Y, so that I have less work to do to get to market?
  2. Do I or my existing team have an existing competency in X or Y that I can leverage?
  3. Given my existing knowledge, in which technology X or Y will I more rapidly be able to make changes?
  4. When I need to hire assistants, will I more readily find help with X or Y, and will that help be at the level I need?
The answers will be unique to you, and defined by your existing experience, and the experience of those around you.

Big companies are not the only entities with "legacy" infrastructure -- we all have a tyranny of legacy to contend with. It's important to partner with your personal legacy and co-opt your legacy for your purpose, rather than force something radical to change because someone thought that X was better than Y; for someday, Z will be better yet.

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at

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