It happens to all things: Age. Sometimes it improves things like a fine wine, but when you’re talking about technology, it’s not a good thing. Every piece of tech sees it’s demise on the horizon. Ask me about my tape/cd/mp3 collections sometime.
Like an aging vehicle, you may start to ask yourself “Is this thing still worth fixing?” You may have a car that still runs well, but shows rust spots. Maybe it’s a tractor and those spots don’t matter. Maybe it’s a classic car that you’ll do anything to revive, despite the costs.
Your websites and applications are very much like cars in this sense. Ignore them for too long with out maintenance, and they will start to have problems on their own. Or maybe despite all the work done to it over the years that everything is starting to fail due to age.
There are many directions you can go from here and you’ve likely come to this page wondering which direction is right for you. It’s situational though. If your application is running well but needs a facelift, is that something that can be done easily without major modification? That depends if you’re simply doing a paint job, or you intend to modify the entire body style.
Sometimes the value of your application is business critical and nothing short of the best will do. In these cases, rebuilding from the ground up, like buying a new car, can come with a certain amount of assurance that it will continue to operate with the latest tech for longer.
That isn’t always viable. Let’s use the tractor analogy. Your application is a workhorse and you need it to work, not look good. It looks the same as it did in the 90s and that’s fine. It will still need some heavy maintenance to keep up with some modern technologies. It gets harder and harder to find leaded gas alternatives and eventually all engines need to switch or become obsolete. Maybe just the snowplow on the front needs replacing. Maybe we do that math and see that we just can’t afford the engine swap compared to a new tractor. That doesn’t mean we need to throw out that new snowplow though. In this day and age of micro services, we tend to build things as comments, like parts, so that we can reuse them in other places more easily.
No let’s say you’ve got a convertible that is depended upon for the local parade. It has to look good no matter what. It also has to be at least workable enough to make it through the route. If it is less reliable as a workhorse, that may not be a problem. It may require minimal maintenance, but a fresh coat of paint will be called for every couple of years.
Determining what kind of vehicle you have and what it needs to do is the first step. Once we do that we can make smart choices about whether it needs a paint job, an engine overhaul, or if it’s time for a new car.