Recently had the opportunity to bid on a new project for a potential client. During my first conversation with this company, they had an MS Access front and back end. During my second conversation, we discovered it was a Visual Basic 6 front end application with a MS Access back end database. No matter, just another application, right?
Wrong. An email thread was discovered between the potential client and the original developer of the software. The title: What you asked for. Well, not quite (in my eyes). The contents? 3 custom controls from 2 different companies, 3 freeware controls from freewhereville and Crystal Reports 8. Crystal I can live with, as it was a fairly standard reporting tool in VB6, since MS never really offered a good one.
As is par for the course, the original developer owned the licenses and not the customer. This is a complete disservice. If you are a developer, you embed these controls in an application and you don't let your customer know, you as a developer are at fault. The customer deserves the opportunity to weigh the pros, cons and long term impact of their choice.
So here we are. No original developer. No licenses for the third party controls. Difficulty reviewing the design of the original system. No chance of deploying an update to the old system. The customer and the (potential) new developer left with few choices moving forward.