You can skip straight to the Conclusion if you don't wish to read the Background and Problem Details
Note: I do work remotely, which does present it's own challenges for communication.
I work for a small company (<10 people) that has some misc in-house FileMaker projects that have been hanging around for a decade or so. Most of what they have or do relies on technology choices and practices frozen in the mid to late 2000's (which by itself isn't a terrible thing). I do work with clients to create, fix, or change their C# or asp.net applications. I came from a place where I was able to find and solve organizational-level problems with tools and software that I and my team would create, with almost complete creative and architectural control. Which has led to "sales based development" being a fairly dull and demotivating existence. I really don't get to flex my development knowledge or do much satisfying work.
My boss (CEO) (Lets call him Fred) has expressed great interest in having me use my expertise to built out an REST API to ingest social media data and analytics, and to sell access to that data. I have also expressed interest in this, specifically mentioning that I need a project with creative control so I can do what I do best and have some job satisfaction. Fred has excitedly agreed that this is something we should do.
In my time working here, I have known Fred to be very obstinate in sticking and using tools and frameworks he is familiar with. Even if they are very old, and cost a lot of time. To the point that Fred believes that a favorite tool can do anything, even if it's practical limits are very clear. This includes sticking to old assumptions and ideas about how to handle user data, security, and how and where to store and manage your code (ie. no source control, no HTTPS certs, no email validation, user credentials are in plaintext, admin accounts with passwords of
123, we only need FTP for everything...etc)
Over the last week Fred has had me using FileMaker, which has been a rough and frustrating experience to say the least. I have a tough time using such tools as it takes almost all the development control away, and is missing countless "features" that could be simply implemented with almost any web framework and and RDBMS. I've mentioned that this tool is great at some things, but poor at others, but Fred believes you can make anything with FileMaker, no matter the complexity or scope.
I confessed that I don't know why we are going through these FileMaker exercises, and it turns out that Fred is already dead-set on having me create the entire web API, data processing, and data ingestion in FileMaker. Which, to me as a full-stack dev, sounds like a terrible idea. There are numerous requirements for such a system that FileMaker cannot provide for, and it as a RDBMS is not up to the task of handling tables with potentially billions of rows. Not to mention that creating and managing a REST API is not something the tool even supports.
I have expressed these concerns, but the response I get is that "FileMaker can do that".
CEO wants me to make him a REST API to ingest mass amounts of social media data, and provide ways for paying customers to utilize this API for their own needs. This is a fairly complex, multi-faceted, and large project. And is something I have been biting at the bit to do. However, he insists that I make it with FileMaker, despite my expertise being in full-stack development of many flavors. My proposed solution is to use Asp.Net Core and a RDBMS like MS-SQL, MySQL/MariaDB, or PostgresSQL. As These are tools I can rapidly develop in, and others in the office know C# including the CEO. I'm comfortable using almost any other major language and web framework to get the job done. Just not FileMaker.
I am especially concerned that I have had no input into the decision making process (feasibility, technology choices, or requirements). When I will be the one creating this application.
- How do I get in on the decision making process that Fred seems to be doing solo?
- I there any professional way to clue him in that he is making decisions on incomplete or outdated knowledge and assumptions?
- What can I do to convince him that this is likely going to hamstring the project? Both from a technological standpoint, and a developer motivation standpoint.
- How do I effectively communicate that this tool will not provide the features or flexibility I need to make this project happen?
- How do I professionally and politely communicate that I have no interest in investing myself into FileMaker? As it's not a skill I find useful in my personal projects or is a skill that will be transferable to other jobs/companies that I am interested in.
I don't believe I'm going to do good work here either. As my motivation and drive for the project has all but evaporated under the current circumstances.