[ic] To Interchance or not to Interchange!

Dan B db@cyclonehq.dnsalias.net
Fri, 30 Mar 2001 16:33:43 -0800

At 11:22 PM 3/29/2001 -0800, UP - Jason wrote:
>    * Is Interchange better than platforms like Intershop, Miva, and others?

In my opinion, Interchange with a RH contract *IS* better than Intershop, 
Miva, and friends.  Without a contract, it can be better or worse, 
depending on your team's skill level.  I like Mike Heins' recent 
analogy:  Interchange is the engine, you are the auto manufacturer.  It is 
a powerful, flexible engine, but much of the quality is up to you.  (Or, 
you can buy manufacturing help with a RH contract).
>    * Redhat positions Interchange as a Blue Martini and Broadvision 
> killer.  Is this true?  Does Interchange kick butt?

The greatest strength of Interchange, IMO, is that whatever Interchange 
doesn't do today, you can make it do (i.e. open source).  And if you don't 
have the skills/time to make IC do it, then you can pay someone to make it 
do it for you (i.e. RH contract).
>    * I have a very competent front-end development team that also have 
> really solid back-end skills.  Will they be able to do all of the set-up 
> and integrations work easily or should I choose an established integrator?

Many people don't hire based on skillsets, rather based on how quickly they 
can learn and adapt.  If you have the "learn and adapt" variety, then they 
should be able to learn the ins-and-outs of catalog.cfg manipulation and 
other interchange installation goodies.

But there is a lot to be said for the value of cleanly separated 
responsibility between installation, hosting, management, administration 
and programming, design, hacking, etc.
>    * Redhat is offering me a service contract.  Should I buy it if I 
> choose to work with my own team and not an established Interchange integrator?

You can start without a contract, sure (I did).  But if you need help, you 
might find yourself clamoring for a "fireman" later on.(and that's OK -- RH 
has plenty of firemen on hand).  But often times it is better in the long 
term to have the groundwork, planning, etc. stages guided all along, 
cultivating a more "general contractor"-esqe relationship with RH E-biz.
>    * What can you tell me, pro/con about using Interchange?

Pro:  One thing that really stands out for me is the database connectivity 
in IC.  It allows a common access method for so many backend datasources, 
and front-end programmers don't need to know if it is flatfile, Mysql, 
Pgsql, Oracle, or ODBC over a 2400 baud phoneline that they are 
accessing.  It just works.  Amazing.

Con: Reading the documentation is like a mouth full of feathers on a hot 
desert afternoon.  It sure would be nice to have Orielly or Open Docs 
Publishing do a book on it.


Dan Browning, Cyclone Computer Systems, danb@cyclonecomputers.com