Application architecture is one of the single most important, yet boring topics you’ll ever run across. You’re not going to make too many friends at a party talking about technology stacks, open frameworks, or any other architecture-related themes. In fact, you’ll probably get a lot of blank stares wherever you talk about those things.
Yet, the difference between good and bad application architecture is mind-blowing. Good architecture is nearly invisible. Everything just works, it’s easy to maintain, and all of your applications operate in perfect harmony.
On the other hand, bad architecture is only invisible at the beginning, but becomes increasingly obvious over time. When you buy a new development tool or begin using pre-built software, the applications may initially work fine. But, if they’re built on bad architecture, problems will quickly arise. What exactly can you expect? Here are 5 costly problems caused by bad application architecture:
1. Hard to maintain
At the beginning, bad architecture causes minor problems. Simple maintenance is difficult. Adding seemingly “basic” features are impossible. A change in one area breaks other parts of the application. The annoyances are fairly minor, but begin to build.
2. Poor Integration
Next, you’ll realize that your applications don’t work well with other software. Users will wonder why they have to use multiple applications to access related information. Basic integration is only possible with sloppy workarounds, which adds to the application complexity.
3. Doesn’t scale
As the business grows, the applications must support more users and include more features. You’ll find that some requested features are impossible, while others require even more workarounds. With all of these workarounds, the applications are getting even harder to maintain.
4. Limited options
As the business continues to grow, another problem arises: What if the business requires a new enterprise software package? What if it needs a new database? The bad architecture severely limits your options, and may force the company to choose an inferior option or even stick with the current setup.
5. Short life span
You’ll finally reach the point where the applications are nearly impossible to maintain. They’re so limited, that they can no longer support the business effectively, and have even begun to hold it back. Now, you must face the most difficult task of all: How do you tell management that your relatively new applications need replacing?
Architecture isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, but ignore it at your own risk. When choosing a development tool or buying pre-built business applications, the architecture will play a huge role in your company’s success. If you’d like to learn more, this article explains how the right architecture can actually save time and money.