Code Smells

I'm a big fan of the concept of "code smells" - the notion that you can subconsciously evaluate the elegance/correctness of a code by how it "smells" to you. Similar to "beauty" in mathematics or physics, I suppose. Sean Corfield, at An Architect's View, just posted an overview of Josh Kerievsky's session at SD West. A code smell is when you sense something is not really right and the code can be improved by refactoring....

March 16, 2005 · 1 min

On simplicity (in standards)

I've been making some time to think seriously about some of the assumptions and preconceptions I have regarding metadata, in light of my quick and dirty asset management tool. I had committed 100% to the "rich, deep metadata is beautiful" mantra, drinking the IMS/IEEE LOM Kool-Aid™. I've built Large Applications that have been designed entirely around handling the complexity of this rich/deep metadata, and trying to abstract that enough to let me build actual functionality on top of it....

January 25, 2005 · 2 min

Pachyderm Asset Management

I've just worked up a drop-dead simple asset metadata database for the Pachyderm project. It's just a MySQL database, with a single table that has 10 fields (including primary key). This simple database will serve basic metadata needs for the Pachyderm beta. I also built a simple asset management system to test out the database. I decided to do a lightweight PHP "application" to stretch my legs in a non-WebObjects non-Java environment....

January 21, 2005 · 3 min

Biomimetic Web Tech?

An interesting idea... Web technologies: a first step towards biomimetism? The idea that enterprise-class, "hardened" applications are flawed by nature, and that web technologies that mimic biology in the ability to adapt and respond are more successful and appropriate. It's another telling of the small pieces loosely joined story. One that's been going through my head very loudly lately (as it has before). Things like the new Technorati Tags system really showcase what can be done with the loosely bound small pieces, rather than trying to build the entire widget (or series of widgets, or framework of widgets) yourself....

January 20, 2005 · 1 min

Efficient Distance Collaboration

Josh and I (and sometimes King) have been utilizing a pair-programming-at-a-distance method of collaboration (not quite like spooky action at a distance, but sometimes it feels pretty close...) Our magic sweet spot combo of tools includes 2 computers at each end of the pipe, one with VNC (a server at one end, a client at the other), and the other computer acting as "support", with iChatAV acting as our communications bridge, and various browsers and utilities handy on the non-shared screen....

October 22, 2004 · 2 min

Changing Role of Metadata?

I've been reading through the wiki pages for Brian Lamb's presentation on wikis etc. at David Wiley's recent ITI conference. Excellent excellent reading. Brian has done an awesome job as usual in gathering supporting resources. Man, if I could just borrow his brain for a while, I'd have my Master's thesis done ;-) (but that's another story). Anyway, Brian linked to a post by Jon Udell: Collaborative Knowledge Gardening - basically on how the role of metadata is effectively shifting, and less formally described strategies are showing the promise of being more effective....

September 5, 2004 · 2 min

Keep it Simple

Adam Bosworth has a good post on architecture/design and the KISS principle (thanks to Tim Bray for the pointer). I have to reflect that the most successful software I've been involved with has followed this, and the least successful has not. Coincidence? Possibly. I think there's more to it than that, though... KISS has lots of deep ramifications. Simple systems are easier to build. There is less to maintain. Less pieces to go wrong....

August 7, 2004 · 1 min