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Rethinking Enterprise Application Frameworks

The IT Industry needs a new approach to application frameworks for enterprise systems (ESs) that is similar to the approach we take with web browsers.

In today’s world, application frameworks are created with almost every ES that gets developed. This represents a tremendous duplication of effort and limits how much effort can be put into any one application framework.

The attached diagram shows the relationship between the sophistication of the application framework and the ES. On the left, the application framework is almost non-existent so all features of the ES must be developed in source code as a part of the system. On the right, the application framework is robust and allows the ES to be created using parameters.

Today, our industry can only afford to invest so much time in a robust application framework, so we tend to operate more on the left side of the chart. The biggest deficit to this approach is that the ESs get heavily tied to the underlying technology. As a result, when the technology becomes dated, entire ESs will need to be re-written which reduces the useful life of the ES and ends up consuming time of the subject matter experts to recreate the system.

The #questionforthegroup is why have we not taken the same approach to application frameworks that we have taken for web browsers. Certainly, it is possible to standardize the definition of application frameworks. By doing so, we could create even more robust user interfaces and dramatically increase the useful life of ESs. We could also increase code sharing between systems.

The application framework needs to tie into the other principles necessary to automatically exchange data between ESs. This would allow us to create systems by business unit and have functional modules plug into it.

I believe this approach would allow us to take on challenges that are currently insurmountable (like creating a fully integrated ES for government) and would address our issues with monolithic systems by separating functionality into business unit systems that are tailored to their unique needs.

If you want more information on the vision for the application framework, please visit

I appreciate your comments, questions, and likes.

Thank you for your attention.

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