Re: Software Programs/Databases
From: Sean Davey (seansonoracohousing.com)
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 07:12:17 -0800 (PST)
Hi Muriel,

there is not anyone else in our community who is a programmer and could add new 
features to our website. They might not ever need to, without me it will still 
keep running just as it does now.

There are always trade offs when considering to use software by a developer vs. 
a big company. With a big company you are for the most part stuck with what 
they offer. Something like quickbooks offers many more features than any single 
user needs. Custom software can be tailored to only what is needed. Requests 
for fixes or new features can happen much more quickly with a developer and may 
not happen at all with a company.

To answer your questions, if I were to stop working on the code then the 
members of the community could still continue to use the calendars, to post 
meeting minutes, to use the email lists, to upload documents, to post pictures 
and recipes, to do the accounting, to have online discussions, etc. At the 
moment they couldn't do things like change the database structure, add a new 
theme, or add new programming for some feature we haven't thought of yet. I'm 
constantly adding new ability for regular users to modify the site so if a 
community wanted, for example, to be able to add themes, then I would be happy 
to add that.

I appreciate your concern, it is shared by every community that I work with. I 
suppose the chances of me being hit by a bus are greater than a company like 
Intuit going out of business but both options are somewhat of a gamble. And 
things in software change rapidly, a community could get good use out one of my 
sites for years and then decide to switch to something else that comes along. 
When I started this code over 10 years ago there wasn't much available that was 
designed for communities. There still isn't anything that combines everything 
that I want for our system. I've had great suggestions for features that are 
specific to other communities that I've been happy to add.

Not sure if I've addressed your concern fully so please let me know if you have 
any questions for me.

thanks,
  sean

> Sean, not to pick on you, but are there other members of your community who 
> really understand your system on a technical level or who could reasonably 
> become familiar with it without needing to spend a whole lot of time 
> learning your tools?
> 
> I have a concern over internal computer systems that someone has developed 
> on site - what happens when that one person is not available to work on it? 
> What's the likelihood that the system can be updated or tweaked by other 
> community members? There are so many different web-based tools, at quite 
> different levels of sophistication ....
>       Muriel

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