Andy Keller: When should you reinvent the wheel?

When: February 28, 2012

When creating software, whether it be a small website or a large custom platform, you repeatedly face the build vs buy dilemma. Should you use raw sockets or a web framework that already speaks HTTP? Should you write javascript directly against the DOM or use a library like jQuery? Should you write a graphing library or find one on the web? Sometimes the answer seems obvious, but making the wrong decision can increase cost, time, complexity, maintenance and support.

In this talk I will start by framing the problem and will provide guidance for making the right decision while avoiding simple cliches like "don't reinvent the wheel". I will then go through specific examples from my experience working on a large mature codebase for a product that evolved considerably over more than 15 years. You'll be surprised by some of our decisions and what we learned from them.

About the Presenter

Andy Keller is the Director of Engineering for Traction Software and principal developer of the Traction TeamPage collaboration and knowledge sharing application.

In his 13 years with Traction, Andy has grown the product from a proof-of-concept to an award-winning platform used by hundreds of organizations globally in a variety of industries, including consulting, industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical, education, military, law enforcement, and many state and federal government agencies.

Andy holds a patent for his contributions to the collaboration space and was involved in developing blogs and wikis as early as 1998, long before mainstream popularity.

Andy graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in Math-Computer Science specializing in artificial intelligence.