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The best amputation possible: Perl proper as Closed Source software

by princepawn (Parson)
on Oct 24, 2001 at 20:45 UTC ( #121184=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Welcome to the other side of the open source coin.

As many of you know, I threw Oracle to the curb recently because I felt they were not using Perl as a community language and thus were not leveraging open source code and collective mindshare. The advantages of Open Source are obvious -- 10,000 people using something as opposed to 10 or 100. Many people encountering and fixing problems before you hit them. Forcing you to see your problems as not completely unique, but simply having a few differences in how a general module/package is configured/instantiated/scripted.

So Open Source starts to be the big end-all and do-all for me. So much so that I leave a place of such high repute in a huff given this completely depressed job market. Now for the other side of the coin

All of this started about 3 days ago when Dave Rolsky did the thing we open source people see as so important: extracting tidbits of "branded" functionality as a more generic module for re-use in other circumstances. So, I took a look at the modules he had up for re-architecture and settled on the Alzabo::ObjectCache::* part of Alzabo as something to decouple from Alzabo for usage anywhere that someone needed a synchronizing object cache with numerous backends for storage of the memory and disk kind.

So, I get going on this and lo and behold, he is making use of that cool module of his Exception::Class. So I think, "hmm, since this is a general module, should I force them to use his exception module? There are a few choices here: (1) force them to use Exception::Class (2) just remove all of his Exception::Class code and replace it with die (3) redo exception class so that it is just another set of hooks that may be thrown when a standard die or warn is called and then die throughout the code, but put in hooks so that if Exception::Class is in %INC then it sets of SIG{__DIE__} and SIG{__WARN__} to use them. And it is choice number 3 that get's up hippied out, organic, Open Sourcey type of people in trouble. There's more than one way to do it. Everyway should be supported. Democracy. Peace. Love. You can have it your way, I can have it mine. Either way is fine.....

So this whole project goes on hold for a bit as I start to write up the docs for it, because I am going to write up a document on how it is useful. So the document is going to be called "ObjectCache: a flexible caching and synchronizing layer for development of business application layers, separating business operations from technical (database) manipulations". So that's all cool and I start to code up my business objects, then I realize that the business objects should actually be able to work with the database by calling queires by label and passing them "business arguments" and no database-ish code should be present in their layer..

Enter SQL::Catalog. What is SQL::Catalog? Well, SQL::Catalog is the class that I created to make, label, and catalog queries so that they are on disk and completely separate from your Perl code? Why is this important? Why , so that the database experts can work on SQL queries while you work on business logic. And so that each query can be individually unit-tested and then , YES, then, themselves stored in a database so that when that time comes and someone else needs to find a query, they can query for a query and so that when the boss says "how many queries are hitting table such-and-such, you can query for a table."

Do I seem to chasing my own tail? Oh, it's not over yet.. because guess what? It turns out the second you think of making a SQL::Catalog you have to ask, well what if 30 parallel proceses all want the same query from the catalog? Oh, then its obvious! Use the new ObjectCache to serve queries from one of the memory stores instead of hitting the database... but wait! This all started because you were going to document ObjectCache!!! I know but I need ObjectCache to correctly and properly server queries for the SQL::Catalog which are serving data for the database and storage-agnostic business layer...

Oh and SQL::Catalog? That has to be open to use with any database. Which means that in terms of schema creation we have to use the db-independent DBIx::Renderer and for SQL queries we have to use DBIx::Recordset.

So the problem with open source is: you are far too open! You spend too much time creating hooks and callbacks and wrappers and mappers and open frameworks with no preconceptions as to order of execution or package of implementation and you never come to full circle on a damned thing.

I almost feel like tucking my tail in and running back to Corporate America for that fat paycheck. For the copy-and-paste software re-use practice. for the do it now like i said. I dont' care what Bertrand Meyer or Grady Booch or any other over-decoupled, overly academic, overly intellectual person said. we have a deadline and that better work even if it will never make into "Programming Perls"

for the opposing viewpoint visit This node

Edit kudra, 2001-10-25 Changed link to [] syntax

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(tye)Re: The best amputation possible: Perl proper as Closed Source software
by tye (Sage) on Oct 24, 2001 at 23:54 UTC

    It sounds to me like you are primed to accept the "Worse is Better" ideology. See "Worse is Better" for more on that.

    For what it is worth, I don't buy the "Worse is Better" ideology. I just think you are biting off too much in the first round. I think "Worse is Better" goes too far the other direction and all you need is some pragmatism and self control. (:

    I also don't see this as a necessary problem of open source. Your problem is just trying to spin too many plates at once (at least this early in the project). Sure, some manager could tell you to focus on "just this" and you'd probably get something working. But why not enjoy the fact that you can tell yourself what part you want to focus on and you'll still get something working.

    Just because you don't have a pointy-haired manager looking over your shoulder doesn't mean you don't need some "focus". Be glad that you get to pick the focus, but pick it. :)

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
Re: The best amputation possible: Perl proper as Closed Source software
by mpeppler (Vicar) on Oct 24, 2001 at 21:06 UTC
    Well.... you have a point. However I'm going to sidestep you r argument entirely and say that I personally would have used SQL stored procedures to achieve what SQL::Catalog does (although your specific database engine may not support stored procs, of course).

    FWIW :-)


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