“Distributed big balls of mud”

Read Simon Brown’s post about how microservices are not the Silver Bullet some are promoting them to be.  As always, pick the right tool for the problem *and* for who will be solving it (the team and organization matters!!!). Sometimes, yes, that’s microservices. Sometimes it’s not. Pick your poison, but do so with open eyes and a level of clarity.

 

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Consider a system to be made up of procedures, some of which are stateful and others which aren’t. We have already discussed the difficulties of understanding the bits which are stateful, but what we would hope is that the procedures which aren’t themselves stateful would be more easy to comprehend. Alas, this is largely not the case. If the procedure in question (which is itself stateless) makes use of any other procedure which is stateful — even indirectly — then all bets are off, our procedure becomes contaminated and we can only understand it in the context of state. If we try to do anything else we will again run the risk of all the classic state- derived problems discussed above. As has been said, the problem with state is that “when you let the nose of the camel into the tent, the rest of him tends to follow”.

As a result of all the above reasons it is our belief that the single biggest remaining cause of complexity in most contemporary large systems is state, and the more we can do to limit and manage state, the better.

“Out of the Tar Pit”, Ben Moseley and Peter Marks, 2006

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The “software crisis” was first identified in 1968 and in the intervening decades has deepened rather than abated. The biggest problem in the development and maintenance of large-scale software systems is complexity — large systems are hard to understand. We believe that the major contributor to this complexity in many systems is the handling of state and the burden that this adds when trying to analyse and reason about the system. Other closely related contributors are code volume, and explicit concern with the flow of control through the system.

“Out of the Tar Pit”, Ben Moseley and Peter Marks, 2006

We are always rational beings….

John Klein wrote up a short, but great list of cognitive biases and how they effect software engineering that might be an eye opener for some.

Via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

(also… all generalizations are false…)

Blogging Dead?

Jason Kottke wrote for Nieman Journalism Lab an opinion piece, that along with the additional notes he added on on his personal blog, I mostly agree with. The roles that blogs grew to take on during their heyday (when was that really?), have been largely subsumed by social networks and open micro-blogging ecosystems these past few years. But that’s no reason to stop, and like him, I’ll be doing this for a long time going forward.

This form of web publishing has provided me opportunities to make connections and friendships from across the world. It has helped provide me a means of sharing what I’m passionate about and to learn from those who care about the same. It has given me a place to experiment with multiple publishing platforms and idioms over the years, in a challenging, exciting environment, that is still filled with promise, the open Web. And it has been a place where I can build something, make something, that at times gave me a way to give back to my community.

I’m going to keep on, keeping on (along with a lot of my friends who are doing the same).

Related:

See Philadelphia in a new (and old) light: Developing Philly and The Great Experiment

“Developing Philly” just posted the fourth update in its ongoing series to share the evolving and growing Philadelphia technology and media scene with the world. Each episode is under 15 minutes and is worth every minute of your time.

I feel so much a part of this, and I hope you do too. We are making this happen.

Here’s the latest:

Make sure to catch the all of the ongoing series!

Along similar lines, but coming from a place that is less from the ground up and focused on Philadelphia’s place as “America’s first city” is “The Great Experiment”, which recently published an inspirational trailer you have to see:

To my friends and family who are stuck thinking about Philadelphia in a negative light, who have never seen the city for all it is, the truth of our home is varied and exciting. There is so much to do, and so much to fight for. I’m proud to still call this city home.