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January 22, 2006

This blog.

I've been at AOL for about 2 years now (yoinks, it goes fast). I've been working on revamping our applications and the infrastructure that support them for, well, pretty much that whole time. Its been slower going than I'd like, but we've reached at least the end of the beginning. That is to say, there's a LOT more to do still...

I hope that some of that journey is of interest, so expect to hear more about the what's, why's and how's. This is intended to be an "industry" blog - that is, lots of stuff about work and the industry in general.

To provide some context to future posts, my group shipped (I've been running the desktop applications group), over the last 6 months: AIM Triton 1.0 (www.aim.com), AOL Explorer 1.1 and 1.2 (some technology differences worth discussion there), Internet Access Controls 2.0 (parental web controls for Broadband), Computer Checkup 4.0 (, AOL Connectivity Service 4.0 (our connectivity engine), the AOL Suite 1.0 Preview, AOL AntiSpyware 2.0, and the AOL Security Center 1.0, among very many other things.

Scarily (other than ACS 4.0) its been basically all new code, on an all new foundation that we call the Open Client Platform (OCP). Despite various version numbers on the apps themselves, they're all basically 1.0 applications. By that I mean they share almost no code with previous versions (in any really recognizable form). Not sure its the path I would have, left to my own devices, chosen, but there you have it. As I tell my teams all the time: may not have been smart, but it is impressive. Here I'll share some of the gore :)

83 comments:

mpg said...

If left to your own devices, what way WOULD you have done it? Per your comment, "Not sure it's the path I would have chosen left to my own devices but there you have it."

Sree Kotay said...

Ha! Well, mostly the comment was about rationally approaching deployment and scale. I think we (AOL), as a company, tend to suffer from the same thing I see in a lot of big companies: everything needs to be "big" right out the door, and that strain often is in direct conflict with the need to incrementally and iteratively develop infrastructure.

So I would probably have rolled out a few smaller things with fewer features and particularly, fewer requirements (more ITERATION, really). But we have this dichotomy (which is legimately tough to manage) of needing big projects to deliver big results very quickly - and ironically, trying to that almost always ensures that we don't get ANYTHING done ever...

Anonymous said...

How come you're not using AOL Journals for a "company" blog? Did you know it even existed?

mav said...

I can not agree more to your own comment. I keep saying this to our own PM teams here in Germany over and over again. We need to be faster, more flexible - just show the crowd what we have - or somebody else will do it.

Sree Kotay said...

anonymous, yes I'm aware that AOL Journals exists :)

For now, at least, its not the product for me.

That's ok - every product we make is not targetted at every user in its potential space.

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