Transport for London’s bus website

Transport for London has just stopped providing its simple bus mobile app which told you when the bus is about to come – and forced everyone to try to work with a much more complex one.

In the words of one commenter on an online website run by Transport for London, the new website “needs 6 stylesheets for the main page (2200 lines of HTML code), 21 external javascripts (some fairly hefty), 18 images and 3 fonts (?!). I stopped counting there because there are also numerous frames with their own javascript, images etc…”

“The old page that loaded in no time has 100 lines of HTML code, 3 external javascripts and two lightweight images built for mobiles” – he wrote. See the discussion here.

What is going on? I can understand why in some sectors of the software industry there is a bias for complexity – it is perhaps much easier to sell complex software than simple software. There are some examples of people who managed to sell simple software and electronic products – the iPod comes to mind – but not so many.

Transport for London is not selling software itself, perhaps it is employing an expensive external software company which wants to build something fancy to justify a large bill?

Or perhaps this is just that software programmers feel that they are somehow ‘doing more’ if they build something fancy and complex – rather than something which does the job as perfectly as possible?



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