Motivation

I’ve mentioned before that I’m lucky enough, given my own database-heavy focus, to be currently servicing a client whose applications tend to be database-heavy in terms of logic.

They are moving their applications gradually, yet wholesale and with no exceptions, towards an N-tier architecture throughout the company and their particular interpretation of N-tier means treating the database like a bit bucket (the only place I’ve been where they treat n-tier and database independent as synonymous although I know this is not an uncommon misunderstanding).

Today I had a conversation with one of the .Net developers along the lines of “you must be gutted given your database expertise.”

To which my response was that I was not particularly bothered which tier had the most lines of code – at the end of the day, it’s not a competition.

There are four things which primarily motivate me, or give me the most pleasure, in a professional capacity:

  1. Making slow, inefficient code fly.
  2. *Writing cool satisfying code.
  3. *Good design and good data modelling .
  4. Using databases efficiently.

*Incidentally, when designing and developing, I’m a great believer in the frequent need to not force it but wait for the right way to make itself known (at whatever time of day or night that might be).

So, moving a bunch of business logic (and in general very poorly written database logic) out of the database doesn’t bother me – the location of this logic doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense.

Remodelling and rearchitecting processes out of the database doesn’t bother me as long as it’s done accurately and properly wherever, and data is modelled appropriately.

In fact, the only thing which bothers me is that this rearchitecture is going to eventually involve Hibernate or similar, which will translate a single object save into a hundred individual insert or update statements, no bulk operations, nothing. I don’t like ORM (although I am very fond of OR views or an OR api in the database which can map one object save to as few operations in the database as is necessary).

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5 Responses to Motivation

  1. chet says:

    i giggle when I read that first sentence…i think i’m like 11 years old.

    Ultimately I don’t mind much either, as long as it’s practical and the people truly understand what it is they are doing. .NET huh? I wonder what it will be in 5 years (as Tom would say).

    My goal is simplicity and efficiency. In most cases I (team of 1 of course) can do it better and faster (and cheaper?) than 90% of the n-tier people. My experience also shows me that not everyone cares as much as I do…so what can you do.

    I still think those tools (hibernate, et. al) are just that, tools. In the right hands, can be done well. In the wrong hands, bad things man. End of day…rambling.

    Post more please. :)

  2. dombrooks says:

    You’re not the only one, Chet – worded deliberately, made me smile too.

  3. dombrooks says:

    > Post more.
    I wish.

    I’ve got a big backlog of things that I want to blog about.

    But I’ve been really busy at work on this VPD implementation.

    I’m meant to be working through my backlog, working through new features, studying to upgrade certifications, etc on my daily commute.

    But I can’t resist watching box series of programmes that I never watched first time around – Sopranos, The Wire, etc.

    What can you do…

  4. I worked for Oracle (Support) from 1990 to 2000, then founded my own company around Oracle and SQL Server expertise, later expanded into .Net and Oracle development, too – so we’ve had our share of discussions internally, of course, as the young folks come out of the universities saying “database agnostic” and other interesting terms.

    So back in the 90’s a clever Dutch guy named André Bakker, who later became VP for Oracle Support in EMEA, taught me an important lesson:

    – layers in an organisation create queueus
    – queues remove any sense of responsibility

    I haven’t found any exception to this since then. Then the other day a friend of mine, who was also in Oracle for many years, dryly commented that he couldn’t help equate layers in an organisation with tiers in an architecture :-)).

    Oh well, enough nerdiness for today.

    Mogens

  5. dombrooks says:

    Moans,

    That’s an interesting observation.

    Certainly management-wise, the best companies I’ve worked for have had a very flat structure.

    Technically, even in today’s agile world, there’s too much “throw it over the fence” at each architectural touch point, “I’ve done my job”, too little hands-on responsibility for the implementation conforming to the big picture if there is one, etc, so I can see the similarity.

    Cheers,
    Dominic

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