On Fri, 2002-09-06 at 15:45, Andrew Hunt wrote:

> 
> 	>had to replace their Java-based e-commerce solution in order to
> 	>efficiently scale up. (My contact solved their problem with perl/MySQL.)
> 
> Interesting.  What was the specific issue that killed them?  In other
> words, was it badly written Java, or just the fact that it was Java?
>

Well, the "incident" occurred a little over two years ago and involved a
major online/offline retailer with a highly seasonal business. Because
this was told to me in confidence I can't be more specific about those
details.

The application was a custom implemented e-commerce app, Java based.
Well into season the avg daily hit count ranged into the very high five
figures and -- the whole bleedin' thing crashed! That's when my contact
was called in. During the day and half the site was down (which cost
cles to a half million dollars in lost revenue, I'm told) the contact
and two of his programmers worked non-stop to recast the whole thing in
perl and MySQL. The last I heard the redone site was still pumping with
an avg daily hit count in the low six figures.

Was it badly written Java? I never saw the source code, of course. But I
do know from other experiences and contacts that badly written Java is
not too difficult to achieve, especially in a crunch (which nearly
everything e-commerce related tend to be.) The only thing I -do- know is
that the Java app failed (with costly results) and the open source
solution saved the day.

> Unfortunately, I agree.  Maintainability is one of those dark subjects
> that no one wants to talk about.  Dave and I were part of an OOPSLA
> workshop last year on Software Archeology that talked around those
> issues; this year Brian Marick has asked us back to talk about
> Software For Life.  It's an interesting and underappreciated subject,
> but as you note, I suspect that will change in time as well.
> 

Bright on the buzzword radar these days is TCO -- total cost of
ownership. Over he lifetime of any given software projects, as with
ships, the bulk of TCO is maintenance, not original construction. All
other things being equal, the easier (read cheaper) a solution is to
maintain, the lower the TCO over time. With IT turnover still is the
double digits (despite the economic downturn) a lot of fresh hands will
be involved in that maintenance so the issues of expressiveness and
clarity, as they relate to software projects, are critical ones.


> 	>The irony is
> 	>that Ruby is closely modelled in accordance with contemporary thinking
> 	>in modern theoretical physics where everything -is- an object (in
> 	>concept, not necessarily name). The physical world in which we live is
> 	>de facto Rubyesque. :-)
> 
> Ha ha!  I love it!  God is a Ruby programmer, after all :-)
> 

Well, Wolfram would likely cast God as a Mathematica programmer. :-)
Searls, Locke, et al. would say God created the bazaar but man built the
cathedrals, and thus gave rise to "original sin". :-)

Regards,

Kent Starr