Construction Software Should Run on ALL Platforms

I've been hunting for an open source app to replace something we run at a lumber yard. It's not going well.

September 29, 2011

I would like to sit down with a contractor or a homeowner, whip out a phone running some cross platform construction software, and do an estimate right on the spot. In the end, I want a takeoff with accurate prices, and a file I can send my customer – they can do whatever they want with it.

Apparently I’m in the minority though. Nearly all of the vendors I talk to make me sound like maybe I’ve been hitting the hookah a bit heavy.

Construction Software Currently

Last week I had a conversation with a software salesman along these lines. When I mentioned construction related apps that run on the web, I think I heard him snicker at me. It’s been a few days, and I am still angry.

I talked to our vinyl window manufacturer about their quoting software, and getting it to run in Linux. One guy in their IT department said “Yeah right — I WISH.”

This was encouraging, but he doesn’t write their software or make decisions. They license it from some company called Paradigm. This Paradigm crew isn’t interested in making their software run on anything but Windows PCs.

I’m running into the same trouble with all the takeoff software companies I talk to.


There’s Hope!

I saw a salesman last year, from a vinyl window company called Lockheed and we used a Linux box to create a quote in his company’s software — in a web browser. It also worked on my phone’s browser!

Over in the takeoffs department, I’ve talked with a fellow named Rob who’s writing an app called OpenEstimating. If I understand correctly, he’s got it started in Java, but is maybe recoding it in PHP. We’ve emailed back and forth. I’ve offered whatever help I can (documentation might be the biggest thing I can do for him) and now I’m just crossing my fingers.



One response to “Construction Software Should Run on ALL Platforms”

  1. It is annoying when this happens. When you mention Linux to most people you usually get a “what is that then?” In an ideal world every piece of software runs cross platform but can’t see it happening anytime soon though.

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