Recognizing the Value of MultiValue and its Senior Developers

This is part one of a series on how to bring the MultiValue platform, and the business-critical applications that were built on it, and depend on it, into the mainstream.

The MultiValue community has a wealth of experienced developers responsible for a myriad of applications that have supported businesses for decades, and yet, many of us contribute to the perception that the platform is out-of-date because, as developers, we haven’t necessarily kept up with the times.

We have focused so intently on MultiValue that we have isolated ourselves from new technologies and the developers who have adopted them, leading to decreased visibility and, in effect, losing our place at the table. If we:

  • Use terms like “old” or “gray-haired” to describe senior MultiValue developers,
  • Describe the MultiValue database, applications, and our market as legacy,
  • Casually use day-to-day vocabulary that undermines the benefits of MultiValue,

Then, when it comes to promoting MultiValue, we are acting as our own worst enemies.

It’s time to reread the IDC Technology Spotlight: In the World of Digital Transformation, Data Is Not Flat: A Fresh Look at MultiValue Database. They were very clear: “The MV DBMS offers significant advantages for a variety of applications.” And they concluded that, “Rocket’s offerings warrant serious consideration for database applications that require simplicity of development and deployment and ease of operations, but with the data governance features one would expect of an enterprise DBMS.” That doesn’t sound outdated to me.

So how can you help improve the market’s perception? First, rather than referring to developers who have been in the MultiValue market for a long time as old, let’s start using terms like senior developer.  We should recognize senior developers not for their age, but for their experience, as well as their vast knowledge of the business-critical systems that they work on. Often, no one knows more about the nuances of these applications within the organization. They are the development equivalents of Subject Matter Experts (SME). When you consult with an SME, you rarely notice the color of their hair.

Being a Senior Developer in the MultiValue market is not a bad thing. You can embrace your expertise and experience while learning how to leverage modern technologies to enhance your skills and capabilities—and apply them to the tried and true applications that we work on. You can adopt new languages, like Python, so that you can integrate into the more modern workforce.

We need to change our perception of the MultiValue platform and just as importantly, how we view and portray ourselves! MultiValue databases have been around for decades and many applications have not modernized their user interfaces, but that does not mean that we cannot leverage modern development tools and techniques to enhance existing MultiValue applications and create new ones too. It’s easy to get started: update the language we use to describe our technology with current terminology. If Senior Developers can’t communicate with the new generation, how will are we supposed to share our wisdom?

As Senior Developers, we need to adjust our thinking, too. If you’ve never strayed outside your MultiValue comfort zone, you may not realize that modern tools are neither inferior nor a threat. We must learn how to leverage these modern technologies to enhance not only our skills and capabilities, but to apply these technologies to the tried and true applications that we work on.

As a senior developer you should:

  • Understand terms and concepts that have been adopted by mainstream databases and related development technologies.
  • Know how to talk to younger developers using modern terms rather than the terms that we have used in MultiValue for decades.
  • Keep up with newer technologies that can be leveraged with existing MultiValue applications to help mainstream the MultiValue database.
  • Abandon the status quo and learn new technologies like JavaScript, Python, PHP and other languages, as well as concepts like leveraging frameworks to reduce the time it takes to develop applications.

It’s true, and admittedly discouraging, that young developers are not embracing the MultiValue technology that we love and have committed our careers to: they don’t yet know how efficient and effective it is. And it’s human nature to be drawn to new, shiny developments. But it’s not inevitable that MultiValue and its developers will be passed over by more recently developed database technologies. You just have to embrace your status as a Senior Developer who has much to teach, and much to learn, from developers coming up behind you.

In the next article in this series, I would like to address how we can attract younger developer talent and mainstream the MultiValue technologies that we use.

Dick Thiot 1 Posts

Dick Thiot, President/Owner of Maverick Systems, is a technology guru specializing in software development and application design. He supports these skills with a broad knowledge of systems, networks and security. His application development experience centers around database-oriented business applications including accounting systems and information management using MultiValue and SQL Server databases. He has created and continues to specialize in software for automobile dealers and the financial institutions that support them.


  • Mark Sapp Reply

    August 31, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Dick makes a great point – I work with SQL developers and understanding their terminology makes it better to translate. In a previous job, having three major systems in Unidata, SAP/DB2 and Oracle – having common terms and understanding first normal form terminology is critical to communication with the developers not working in MV.

    For many, myself included, when you get to be good at what you do in your sandbox, it’s hard to take risks and learn new technologies – the status quo is a safe place. But we have to put aside fear of failure and jump in and learn new tech and be a better bridge for the next generation.

  • Martin Fritter Reply

    September 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

    A glossary/concordance of MV terms/SQL would be helpful. How does on translate from one universe -discourse to the other?

    This should include HADOOP and Mongodb as well.

  • Bruce Decker Reply

    December 4, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Great article Dick!

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