I wrote up a report suggesting mod_perl and Mason, partly because we already had a mod_perl box running, and partly because it was a good solution. The cost (i thought) was also a benefit because we hadn't really figured out how to monetize our visitors (never did, either). I happened to go on vacation for a week shortly after submitting my recommmendations.
It was about this time that Vignette went public, and gained like 500% on its opening day. When I got back from vacation, I learned that vignette had come in and pitched their multi-million dollar Story Server content management system. Our management thought it was the best thing they had ever seen. (of course a lot of that was envy of Vignette's highly successful IPO)
So I sat down and wrote up a side by side comparison of the two... It turned out that mod_perl/Mason matched vignette feature for feature and had some extras to boot. Of course, no one was listening at that point, they had decided on their flashy solution, w/o really knowing why.
Anyway, we wasted a huge amount of money (over a years worth of revenue) on that software "solution" and it was broken from day 1. Granted, we opted for their should-have-been-beta 5.0 release, but still it felt like the darn thing hadn't even been tested outside of an NT environment.
Guess, what... eventually, I retooled our old mod_perl box and we ran the most dynamic portions of our site off of that box. The Vignette "solution" was relegated to a multi-million dollar backend build process for nearly static content... Imagine this for a moment: four beefy sun boxes, running expensive proprietary software, getting smoked by a single[*] x86/linux/mod_perl machine with $0 spent on software.
This was a case of management saying "We're not sure what we want to do, but we're sure we want to use technology X to do it with." I should have walked away the day they forced that brain-dead logic upon me....
[*] We eventually rolled out a 16 node pseudo-cluster of x86 machines, but at the time it was a single box.
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