The Arrival to Project SC7
Last updated on: 6/21/2012 11:28 AM
Created on: 3/21/2014 2:18 PM
There are multiple challenges that I'm facing with the re-invention of our client technology. This, in the course of my career, is nothing new. When I started with my current employer the main flag ship product was version 3.14. This is going back a long way to Windows 3.1. Naturally we were talking about a 16-bit app built using Borland OWL and we were looking at system tools and utility software being common things people purchased for their computers. This would be the dawn of the era of Norton utilities, disk compressors and my personal favorite, the flying toasters of After Dark. All these utilities and more were available in stores with names like CompUSA and Elec-Tek.
Our PCs at the time were completely file centric. Everything you did was in a file. If you were writing a letter or document you had Wordperfect files. If you wanted to do number crunching you had Lotus 1-2-3 files. Even the software applications themselves were file centric with user settings being stored in the Windows standard .ini file formats. Those were the days when things were easy for people like me to just jump in and fix. We go to the file and make changes and then reopen the application. Problem solved. So it seems only appropriate that data protection at the time was done on the file level. Ironically we will see 16 years later that storage as files is still how things are done proving that in means beyond the personal computer.
I graduated college with my BS in Comp. Sci. in the spring of 1995. This would be months before Microsoft would launch their revision to the look and feel of windows, Windows 95. I joined my employer in the winter of 1996 and toward the end of that year it was becoming time to rethink how people were going to interact with files. Most importantly it was time to shift away from building 16-bit apps and enter the world of 32-bit application development. Being the difficult individual I am I jumped to a lesser known OS at the time, Windows NT 3.51. Now this was smart for me and my road down a career of development as the NT kernel won out as the only Windows kernel with Windows 2000.
Innovation tend to stop for our development house around this time. There are three letters behind this stand still. AT&T licensed our software to sell into certain markets so essentially we would build a product that they would then slap their logo on and sell. They, as an bloated organization, enjoyed the status quo. Version 5 rolled out as a 32-bit application that resembled the now famous look of Windows Explorer. However it was still focused on protection of files just like it did back in the version 3 days. The problem is during this time computers became networked and files were no longer passed around via floppy disks but e-mail. With e-mail being the primary use for file transit it introduced the concept of collaboration about the files.
After being tasked numerous times to maintain an email integration piece that allowed users to protect files being sent as attachments to email I began lobbying that our existing model won't work. People are sending files back and forth via e-mail because not only do they want data protected but they want it protected in the midst of workflow. This lead me down a path that deviated from the company plans for version 6 of our product. I prototyped a new interface that allowed files to be protected, worked on, automatically re-protected and shared. This essentially lead to a look similar to working with an email message and storing access control list members in a contact management manner. The product began to look like Microsoft Outlook. Most people in management didn't see this model working for our customers because it was radically different. However customers demanded features in the software that were only available in my prototype and when it came to money, this prototype dubbed "Gaspar's New Paradigm" won and would become the new version 6.
That version has been shipping for several years but as with all projects they must evolve to meet changing technology. Thus version 6 is getting close to its end of life. Version 7 is currently in development and introduces some new concepts based on feedback I have received and observations I have made on how our products are used in various organizations. While computers are still using files, and tablets are using files, and smart phones are using files, users today are provided experiences that hide the technology used to store data. While this makes it easy to blur the line between local drives and Internet drivers (server storage) people are more about the communication the technology provides. Version 7 has been in the making since 2009 and is to date the most complex code base this software shop currently owns. It will also be the first product to not focus on being an application that works with files but a full blown system providing users with a data protection experience.
TopicsDeveloper's Historical Persepctive Why A Platform Standards The User Experience
InterfacesISCApplet ISCTaskListExtension ISCConfigPanelExtension ISCErrorReporterExtension ISCLogConnector/ISCLogEntry ISCCertificateStoreExtension ISCSystemTrayExtension ISCAppletWindowExtension ISCSecureObjectExtension
Applet Building StepsStep 1: Create The Applet Step 2: Adding Action Items Step 3: Adding Configuration Panels Step 4: Adding Custom Error Text Step 5: Startup/Shutdown Step 6: Adding Main Window Support Step 7: Adding Obejct Window Support