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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What is Legacy?

Nice post Rick.


Hope everyone had a great Turkey day!

I ate too much *smile*

I have a question for you folks:

What is your definition of a legacy application?

Mine is rather simple... If it is being used by you or your company and can't be replaced with the click of a button or a simple keystroke, it is a legacy application.

The click of the button/ simple keystroke comment is the key I believe.  If it the application is so commoditized that you can switch from A to B to C with a mouse click or installing a different tool and it makes no difference, I wouldn't consider it a legacy application.  What is it then?  I would consider it merely a tool. 

Consider a 9/16" wrench.  Does it matter if it came from Sears or Lowe's or Home Depot?  Not really.  They all fit into your hand and allow you to loosen or tighten a 9/16" nut.  Now of course there are differences and everyone has their favorite (I personally use Craftsman).  But, in the end its just a wrench.

Now if you took a blow torch to that wrench and bent the handle in a U-shape so that it would allow you to adjust the front torsion bar on a 1965 Plymouth Fury, that is a legacy tool (I once had that car and the mechanic at the tire shop actually pulled his customized wrench out of his tool box and proudly told me why he customized it.  Seems you can't get to one of the bolts you need to reach to do a front end alignment on that particular car without a few choice cuss words or the properly modified wrench.  Anyway, you get my point I think.

Make sense?

So, if your application does something specific that can't be replaced, regardless of what it was written or where it came from, consider it a legacy application.

That's my opinion.

What's yours?


  1. I heard a Legacy System is one that works.

  2. The result of this line of thought is that all business software become legacy and that the only software from which one can make any money is legacy.

    First, even a tiny business cannot change away from Excel at the click of a button because of formulae and macros. In business, all software becomes entrenched in a complex web of human and IT practice which prevents it from being replaced.

    Second, if something is so simple or universal that it is not legacy, then the open source version is almost certainly excellent.

    That means all software vendors and creators should be interested in legacy software. Either maintaining it or making sure more of it comes into existence.

    Is this way you meant by your post. If so, wow! It is a major revelation and one which has been occupying my mind quite a bit since reading the post.

    Thanks - AJ