Spectre of Spectra

Does anyone else find it disturbing that the City of Charlottetown, in its RFQ for Design/Development of Public Interface to Historical Information [PDF] says:

The web-based heritage application is to be built with Macromedia’s Spectra product, a ColdFusion-based web portal framework. Therefore, the web development vendor selected by the City must have formal training and/or project experience in both ColdFusion and Spectra.

This despite the fact that Macromedia announced, in May 2001, that they are discontinuing support for Spectra and converting to an open source product that has yet to be released?

Clearly the City, through Town Square, backed a dead horse of a product. They should cut their losses and proceed with the adoption of proven, tested, mature open source technology that doesn’t involve vendor lock-in.

The RFQ goes on to say:

During the development and implementation of the site, the vendor will be required to work in conjunction with Island Telecom’s Spectra team as they have the overall responsibility for the maintenance of Town Square2.

With the double whammy of a dead product, and having to deal with Island Telecom, I would sooner cut off my nose than have anything to do with this RFQ. As would any web developer worth their salt.

I fear the result of all of this is that the we citizens are going to be saddled with another ugly, non-functional colossus of a website.


hannah's picture
hannah on July 15, 2003 - 17:29 Permalink

Re: townsquare. I was hoping it was not just a personal issue with that site — it is hard to navigate; full of pages that are full of text but say nothing useful; redirects to pages that have no explanation (EZ Site listing — what the hell is that!); it is disturbing in the extreme to see the very first headline on the front page as a death announcement lifted straight from the Guardian. Does anyone use this site, I wonder. GRRRR!

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on July 15, 2003 - 17:48 Permalink

Townsquare navigation is an abomination of the senses. It angers me that money was/is spent to create/sustain it. It angers me more that much effort will be put forth to justify and validate the effort.

Nah's picture
Nah on July 15, 2003 - 18:13 Permalink

Surely the astute viewer will have noted the remarkable similarity between the ugly non-functional colossus and a former Charlottetown portal which was created by a now defunct Charlottetown web developer.

Surely it is a coincidence that the Province, who received the former Charlottetown portal software against a debt is a contributor to the

Alet's picture
Alet on July 15, 2003 - 19:03 Permalink

Long time no speak. Got your message the other day, so hi back to you, Peter. Not being in the know of the inner workings behind the scenes, and looking at this as an objective citizen looking for an opportunity to “grow our IT business” (does that sound familiar to anyone?), I am amazed by the fact that RFQs like this go out with only a small outcry like this one. The requirement of proof of “formal training and/or project experience in both ColdFusion and Spectra” and having to identify “all Spectra and ColdFusion training received by the development team” baffle me. As if that is the only qualifying factor in selecting a suitable vendor for this project. As if our (being the collective our for local web developers) training/experience in various other programming languages is not good enough / proof enough of our capabilities? Would you believe that, upon inquiry, I was reminded that we had the opportunity to take the training course offered by Island Tel! After spending how many years at school & university learning all about computing (I took computer science as an extra subject at school since grade 10) and teaching computer science to university students for 8 years, I have to go take a training course in ColdFusion, presented by Island Tel! Why then not also a requirement for formal training/experience in systems analysis (look at the deliverables required for Phase 1)? What about formal SQL training/experience (the databases are all in SQL Server)? What about formal training/experience integrating web interfaces with databases? I am being naive, I know…

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on July 15, 2003 - 22:21 Permalink

I don’t see any reference to Spectra in the PDF you’ve linked to — where am I missing it?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 15, 2003 - 22:27 Permalink

Confusingly, the City has choosen not to make the actual RFQ documents available on their website. These consist of a Word file and an appendix as an RTF file. To receive these you have to request them. Or, of course, read the local copies linked herein. Read the Word file for the full-on Spectra treatment.