3 June 2003
A Foundation Platform is a that is built prior to any application that are built on top of it. The idea is that you analyze the needs of the various applications that need the platform, then you build the platform. Once the platform is complete you then build applications on top of it. The point is that the platform really needs to have a stable API before you start work on the applications, otherwise changes to the platform will be hard to manage due to their knock-on effects with the applications.
While this sounds reasonable in theory, I've always seen this work badly in practice. The problem is that it's very hard to understand the real needs of the platform. As a result the platform ends up with far more capabilities that are really needed. Often its capabilities don't really match what that the applications really need.
Contrast this with HarvestedPlatform
I originally published this entry under the name FoundationFramework, but our vocabulary has evolved and we're now using the word "platform" where we did use "framework". The core thinking, however, remains the same.