The Taligent Effect

The Taligent Effect  Several times this week, I found my self using the term “the Taligent effect.” 
The Taligent effect is what happens when a group of people put adherence to a software trend first and lose sight of the value of shipping software that people will actually use.
Taligent was Apple's (and later IBM's) attempt to rewrite an existing product using the trends of the day. The product was an operating system (first called “Pink” when it was at Apple). The technology trend was objects, but because the project hung around so long without shipping, the trend at the end of the project was frameworks.
What was the net artifact of Taligent? Three beautifullyproducedbooks from Addison Wesley. That's it. No DLLs or EXEs that I can see.
Apple apparently learned their lesson from the Taligent experience and ultimately bet on the software stack from NeXT that was an amalgam of the BSD UNIX kernel, a message-passing layer from CMU, and an objective C compiler and library.
It took IBM a bit longer to learn from Taligent. IBM opted to double-down and refocus their Taligent investment on the San Francisco project. San Francisco was a set of Java-based “Business Frameworks” that by the time the project was end-of-lifed” had jumped on the design patterns trend.
What was the net artifact of IBM's San Francisco? More beautifully produced  books From Addison Wesley. Not being an IBM insider, it's hard to tell how much of the SF code made it into this IBM EJB-based offering, but my guess is that IBM didn't get a great return on their investment.
Given the amount of excitement over SOA, I'm confident that there are several projects that are repeating the exercise as you read this. 
As always, the book will likely be better than the movie.  [Don Box's Spoutlet]

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