NMS UIs and the Product Managers That Hate Us

Warning: I’m angry about this. I’m ranting.

I’m sitting here at Airtight Networks for Wireless Field Day watching a demo of their new wireless networking offering. Right off the bat all the delegates in the room noticed one thing, HTML5 interface. On top of that it’s simple, clean, intuitive, logical, customizable, and colorful (but not in-your-face-made-of-fairy-vomit colorful). It works. It’s fast. It’s probably even usable on an iPad or Nexus 7. You know why? It’s not made from Flash. It’s made using web standards. Oddly enough, they’re not the only one so it can’t be voodoo. It has become commonplace for young companies to build beautiful interfaces and make them logical and customizable.

I’ve complained about this endlessly to vendors and I’m tired of getting the same answer. HTML5 is too hard to code. HTML5 is too bleeding edge. If that’s what your developers are telling you, fire them. Now. If they say they require an Active-X plugin, fire them. If your developers are not keeping up with current standards, methods, and languages… train them, require it, or ask them to leave and stop lying to your customers about it. That’s the standard practice in almost everywhere else in IT… except you. If they make a site that is only compatible with one browser, fire them and have them arrested. It’s not an annoyance anymore, it’s criminal how much your companies charge for awful code.

Oh, and another couple thing while I’m ranting…

VMware, your web client is a joke. The only reason most people wanted it was so they could manage their environment from OS X. Way to screw that one up. A brand new, ground up, web based product and you chose Flash? No. Stop it. Fire the whole team. That product manager is trying to ruin your company. They’d have to be to pick Flash.

Cisco, stop using Oracle databases on the backend when I’m managing 400 devices. You make me pick a "size" for my server but make them all identical except for the crazy amount of RAM. I should be able to do what your management systems do with MySQL or Postgres, or even MongoDB. Even better than that, I can do it on a VM with less than 1GB of RAM. My databases don’t take 15 minutes to start up and I know how to fix them because they’re relevant to my environment. Bigger doesn’t mean better. I’m tired of carving a diamond with a machete because your developers and product managers refuse to listen to your customers. I get it, it’s a tough project to overhaul a product that’s so old and been on the market for…. oh wait, Prime is new right? ISE? Also, pick a browser. If you’re going to write awful interfaces that will only even load in one browser… make it consistent.

And to all companies out there who have ever said the words BYOD, mobile device explosion, internet of everything, or whatever-is-hot-right-now-in-mobile… If your management isn’t mobile friendly you don’t get to say that anymore. Ever. You’re officially out of that industry for not getting it at all. How can you understand mobile if you don’t build for mobile? I don’t care if it’s an app or a responsive website, or a site that’ll load at all. I want full functionality too.

Okay, I’m done ranting now but if we have to have this conversation again I’m bringing a rolled up news paper. I don’t want to but I will use it.

And let’s just not talk about Java, I’ll let it go if you never bring it up again.