Data Transformations Inc.

Some Ideas for Computer People

Few things are more dangerous on large computer projects than people who are somewhat intelligent, but not intelligent enough to be wise. The brightest people have the wisdom to keep things simple. Stupid people, of course, must keep things simple. But those in the middle frequently attempt overly complex solutions, often building in useless layers of abstraction. Also, the semi-smart tend to be true believers in whatever methodologies are currently in vogue, instead of seeking or inventing methodologies appropriate to the problem at hand.

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If you don't keep the deliverables foremost in mind at every stage of a project, it is prone to failure. That is, if you think you're earning your keep merely by coming in each day and working on plans or models, without constantly wondering exactly how YOU YOURSELF would deliver all pieces of the project, there is cause for concern.

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As in life itself, adding ANY layer of abstraction that does not really earn its keep, is folly. Why are so many computer people so ready to add extra layers of abstraction?

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A good designer or architect turns what was envisioned as a large project into a medium sized project.

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Though both flavors of DB2 are great database engines, three wonderful things about Oracle are:

  • It's code base is identical regardless of the platform it runs on (Windows, Unix, z/OS).
  • Connecting any Oracle servers or clients (running anywhere) to each other is trivial.
  • It has a wealth of runtime information in its system tables and views.
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    A TRUE PROTOTYPE is not just a graphic rendition of the output of a project. TRUE PROTOTYPING is the testing (in miniature) of anything that is not 100% worked out technology-wise, or that is critical to project success. For example, if the project involves using Oracle with Java Servlets with a particular EJB container, then a TRUE PROTOTYPE might mean coding something that:

  • Does Oracle I/O (both reading and updating if needed)
  • Does the most complicated kind of GUI thing you envision doing
  • Tests that Session Management is being dealt with properly
  • Employs whatever you think you need to assure thread-safety
  • Tests non-database related response times (database response can always be made to be fast)
  • Tests anything else about which you have any concern or doubt.


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