Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

High Level Logic: Rethinking Software Reuse in the 21st Century
High Level Logic (HLL) Open Source Project ^ | September 20, 2010 | Roger F. Gay

Posted on 09/20/2010 8:52:32 AM PDT by RogerFGay

Introduction

An application programmer spends six months perfecting a set of components commonly needed in the large company that employs him. Some of the components were particularly tricky and key pieces required very high quality, reliable and complex exception handling. It has all been tuned to run quickly and efficiently. Thorough testing has demonstrated his success. Part of his idea of “perfection” was to build in a way that the software, even many of the individual components, could easily be reused. But it is surprisingly likely that no one outside of a small group within the project will ever hear of it.

Tens of thousands of programmers building thousands of applications, repeatedly building the same functionality over and over again. A collective nightmare for CFOs. There are those who believe that the problem has been addressed with “best practice” object oriented programming techniques, enterprise frameworks, and strategic development of specialized open source systems. Certainly they are right – up to a point.

While many available tools and good programming technique offer opportunities to reuse software, and most definitely reduce the need to rebuild many “lower level” (relatively speaking) functions, they also facilitate development of much more complex systems and provide a plethora of gizmos for doing old things in new ways, producing a never-ending stream of reasons to update what has already been done. Out there on the edge, where application programming actually takes place, the software reuse problem is a moving target.

Generally speaking, the benefits of software reuse far outweigh the costs. [1] But in the messy world of real-world application development, the challenge can be complex. Many managers value rapid prototypers over “best practice” engineers, not understanding that building on somewhat sloppy early results will typically and dramatically increase project time and cost and reduce quality. In larger organizations with shared interests, they wonder which project should bear the increased cost of building reusable software components? Who pays the cost of searching the (sometimes huge, distributed, and insufficiently documented) code-base to look for possible matches? Should a software project focus time and money on special packaging, documentation, and “marketing” material to promote reuse of components it builds?

I believe it is possible to realign the software development process in a way that will make everyone happy; from the executives who will see measurable improvements in productivity, to project managers pushing for rapid results, to the programmers who fantasize about widespread use of their best work, to the CFOs who see the company mission fulfilled on a smaller software maintenance budget.

Such a dramatic statement needs a theatrical follow-up. In the spirit of The Graduate, I just want to say one word to you – just one word. Are you listening?

Configuration.

Exactly what do I mean by that? There is a great future in configuration. Think about it. Will you think about it? … Shh! Enough said. That's a deal.

OK, it's not actually enough said in this context. I'll get back to “configuration” below. What I want you to think about first, really think about, is that this is the age of software components.

In the distant past, it was easy to see that it would be useful to represent often repeated binary sequences in hexadecimal code, then an obvious step to package sections of code into a machine language to handle common operations at a higher level. Then combine those into commonly used functions. It's been almost a half century since we got a little excited about “structured programming.” We built functions and libraries, and once again noticed that program structure and flow as well as development tasks often had commonalities across applications. Special tools emerged. It has been thirty-five years since the first IDE was created.

Believe it or not, it has been a half century since an object oriented programming language with classes and instances of objects, as well as subclasses, virtual methods, co-routines, and discrete event simulation emerged from research in artificial intelligence (Simula 67). C with Classes was renamed C++ in 1983 and developers quickly replaced their C compilers with C/C++ compilers. The Java Language Project was initiated in 1991 and Sun Microsystems offered the first “Write Once, Run Anywhere” public implementation in 1995 and the first release of the Java Enterprise Edition in 1999. This is the age of software components. But even one decade is a very long time in the software world. One might almost expect that something new is about to happen.

One word - “Configuration.”

If you're entrepreneurial, perhaps you have already realized that you could package sets of useful components as finished product suites (components = products). If you are an independent consultant or operate a specialized software development company, you can offer high quality services based on proven technology with your own product suite(s). (Shame on you if you don't already.)

But let's say that you want to build a complete system, for some purpose, that does something besides impress people with its quality and reusability in the development process – an application. Adaptation by configuration is pervasive. Here are some examples.

Word processing software serves a very specialized purpose. It is adaptable by configuration. You can install specialized language support, adjust the characteristics of various text blocks, add templates for complete (reusable) document layouts, and even adapt it for use by the visually impaired. Some word processing systems are also extensible.

Lotus Notes has a history that reaches back into the 1970s (PLATO Notes). It is familiar to many software developers (and others) as an interactive, networked system that is adaptable (by configuration) to the specifics of a project or other activity, and also extensible. This is a bit more general than a word processor, providing a suite of services, but still somewhat specialized. IBM offers both extensions and tools. Custom code can in fact be added to extend the capabilities of the out-of-the-box system. Extending the concept, Lotus Sametime is offered as middleware for building custom networked applications.

WordPress “is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog,” says the WordPress website. “We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”

The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plug-ins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 25 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home”.
People all over the world build and post their own components. It doesn't take a software professional or layers of bureaucracy to select and add powerful new interactive features (beyond visitor comments and smiley faces) to customize websites. Welcome to the 21st century (and pervasive CMS)!

The Brave New World

What if you could do that with all software development? And what if a major portion of the reusable software components in a company, starting with their design, were treated seriously as independent internal products rather than vaguely outlined portions of a large pile of 1s and 0s? The idea might be much more practical than you think.

The shift to object oriented programming changed the way programmers think about creating systems. Components are what systems are made of these days. This major technological paradigm shift has also had a major impact on project process; which now leans toward “lean,” discrete, and agile. [5]

Some of the most complex and potentially expensive aspects of software reuse involve getting all the software organized, identified, documented, and searchable. But consider what is already inherent in the tools and processes commonly used by modern software engineers. Software objects are arranged in packages. In best practice, naming of packages and components is systematic and aims to make functional purpose easy to recognize. Package identifiers can also serve to direct programs to the physical location of each component. Documentation on individual objects, arranged in packages, can be automatically generated (easy to organize and keep up-to-date).

Best software practices encourage reusability. If I'm creating an application that reads and interprets 25 XML files, it only makes sense to write one (only one) general purpose read and parse component for XML files, so long as that is possible, rather than new code for each file. Only that part which must be treated uniquely requires additional code.

My experienced observation is that much of the time, in common practice, building nifty general purpose code is less expensive than building sloppy spaghetti code. Building good code from the start dramatically decreases project time and cost. There will be fewer avoidable complexities in downstream development, fewer bugs, and consistently higher quality. Consider also that experience matters. Developers who spend their careers building good code, not only prefer doing the job right, but become extremely efficient at it. When they design, what will come to their minds is good code, not junk. When they implement the design, they are quite familiar with the techniques and details needed to build good code.

From a variety of perspectives, developing reusable components in the spirit of discrete products is beneficial, and the time is right. What more is needed then, to maximize the benefits of software reuse?

Regular Stuff + Artificial Intelligence = Something

The Java language and frameworks like Java EE continue the development path that started with binary sequences in the first section of this article. They differ in that one does not generally innovate on the concept of adding two integers, for example. Initially, getting good fast versions of common functionality for a variety of machines was the point. Both Java SE and Java EE (and others) provide support for higher level functionality supporting, for example, a variety of ways to move data around on a network for display and processing.

In the world of artificial intelligence research however, it seems people enjoy branching off in new directions, “moving things around” (so to speak) to change the character of computing. The old research definition for AI was simply to get computers to do things that at present, humans do better. From the start, people thought about moving the human role (part of it anyway) into the computer.

In the mid to late 1980s, complex rule-processing software came on the market. New companies emerged marketing “expert systems” tools, large companies invested, and more powerful rule-processing capabilities were added to existing commercial products like database systems. A slightly deeper look yields something more interesting than a packaged way to process lots of “if-then” statements. AI researchers wanted to move logic out of application programs and into a general processing engine, with application logic treated as data. I'm going to cast that into the perspective I offer now, with a description that the researchers and developers at that time may never have used. Expert systems applications were built by configuring the processing engine with a rule base (and other information).

More powerful systems like KEE became commercially available in the same decade, incorporating a new and powerful programming component - objects - into the mix. The object oriented programming concept itself repackaged some of the common elements of complete applications into individual components; not just by definition, but by encouraged design practice. Its introduction was disruptive, setting vast numbers of working engineers to the task of rethinking how software systems should be written. An “object” you say? Sounds classy!

My agent is on the phone.

“A software agent is a piece of software that acts for a user or other program in a relationship of agency,” says Wikipedia (citing two sources [2][3]). Agent technology also has a history. The concept can be traced back to 1973 [4]. An actor is "a self-contained, interactive and concurrently-executing object, possessing internal state and communication capability.” One might call it the ultimate object.

Agent technology has already emerged from artificial intelligence laboratories. Modern agents extend the “Write Once, Run Anywhere” idea, even to the extent that there are what might be called “door-to-door” salesman varieties; traveling agents (also called robots, bots, web spiders and crawlers and even viruses) that move around the Internet (sometimes duplicating themselves) to perform tasks.

The telecommunications industry recognizes the importance of a new technology that screams to be used as a central processing system for a wide range of applications that can service the wide range of networked devices available today. JADE (Java Agent DEvelopment Framework) is a free software Framework distributed by Telecom Italia, that “simplifies the implementation of multi-agent systems.”

It changes the way you think about software development. Don't worry about the wide range of interfaces needed for so many devices. They're supported. Don't worry about the complexities of communication. The code is written and maintained by someone else. This goes beyond the relatively “low level” programming components available in IDEs and support offered by higher level development frameworks like Java EE. Much of “the system” already exists. Just focus on the very specialized components needed for your particular application that can be cast into the agent framework. Only that part which must be treated uniquely requires additional code.

You then let the framework know when your agents are needed. When they are, they get the call; automatically. And by the way; intelligent agents can sense when they are needed and respond appropriately, even learn and adapt to new circumstances.

Sometimes one is not enough. A multi-agent system (MAS) is a system composed of multiple interacting intelligent agents. Multi-agent systems can be used to solve problems which are difficult or impossible for an individual agent or monolithic system to solve. Examples of problems which are appropriate to multi-agent systems research include online trading, disaster response, and modeling social structures.

High Level Logic

OK, quick! Think of a way to go beyond what's been discussed so far.

How about this?

One more thing, while we're on the subject of code reuse.Now what you have is an outline for a system known as “High Level Logic” - HLL. The High Level Logic (HLL) Open Source Project stems from a history that goes back into the 1980s, as a concept for unleashing the power of expert systems. Prototype software was more recently built as part of a larger intelligent robotics project. The commitment to open-source development was made in July, 2010.

Although the development project is now (September 2010) at an early stage, there is sufficient software available to create applications. The plans to complete the first complete “light-weight” version, using only Java SE, that will have the full set of characteristics described above are quite concrete, already committed to specific technical issues logged in the project's issues tracker. An outline for a somewhat heavier version using Java EE components is given on the project description page.

Yet Another Path to Code Reuse

Subtly perhaps, four different approaches to code reuse have been mentioned and illustrated in this article.

First, the development of higher-level languages involved assigning names to commonly used bits of logic in lower level coding and the development of tools to translate (interpreters, compilers, …) back into lower level code. One common implementation of the lower level code was then used by everyone using the same higher level language (compiler …).

Second, object-oriented computing involved re-organizing some of the processes common to applications from the complete application level, down to component level.

Third, a more open mass use of certain web-based technologies led to common application cores and shared extensions. (Proprietary: Lotus Notes → Open: WordPress; and also more on the extreme techie side, consider the history of Sun Java development).

Fourth, highly innovative research identified distributed application logic that could be extracted into generic processing engines.

At least one more exists, which will be the subject of later articles. Learning and adaptive software has already reached well into the stage of commercial use. Developers write code explaining the results they want. The learning system automatically creates the code. There are many circumstances in which the same specification code written by developers can be reused on various platforms (physically different robots for example) in different environments and for different purposes (identifying and moving different objects in new environments for example). Even existing application code can be reused and automatically adapted to differences.

The direction of HLL incorporates all of the above providing a useful general purpose application platform rather than a specialized application platform (like CMS for example). It will be part of the purpose of the HLL Blog to provide further focus on these characteristics of the HLL system.

Given the current state of HLL, there is at least one characteristic that should be emphasized. Application developers focus their coding work only on those components that are unique to their application. There is a great deal of flexibility in what can be done on the application, because – simply – there are no restrictions. Java developers, for example, can write any kind of Java components they wish. The HLL engine can use components from anywhere an HLL system exits on any installed HLL system (component sharing). Components that builders wish to be accessed by HLL are named (like higher level language), and accessible to HLL systems through their configurations.

This aspect of HLL is worth emphasizing. It is the intent, that – especially as an organization builds its library of reusable functionality – application development will be largely a matter of configuration; and that's a very good reason to push reusable code development.

References:

  1. SOFTWARE REUSE ECONOMICS: COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS ON A LARGE-SCALE ADA PROJECT, Johan Margono and Thomas E. Rhoads, Computer Sciences Corporation, System Sciences Division. (I believe this 1992 article in ACM, which I found freely available on the Internet, is still quite relevant. Margono and Rhoads however, did not say “benefits … far outweigh the costs.” They actually said; “benefits … have so far outweighed the costs. We believe that this will continue to be the case.” Eighteen years later, with a great variety of new advantages mentioned in this current article, it is surely even more true due to long-term technical focus on the issue; and this article recasts the issue in that light. We've come a long way.)
  2. Nwana, H.S. 1996. Software Agents: An Overview. Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol.11, No.3, 205-244, Cambridge University Press
  3. Schermer, B.W., Software agents, surveillance, and the right to privacy: A legislative framework for agent-enabled surveillance. Leiden University Press, 2007, p.140.
  4. Carl Hewitt; Peter Bishop and Richard Steiger (1973). A Universal Modular Actor Formalism for Artificial Intelligence. IJCAI.
  5. Agile software development methods Review and analysis, Pekka Abrahamsson, Outi Salo, Jussi Ronkainen, and Juhani Warsta, Espoo 2002, VTT Publications 478, 109 p.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: agents; ai; business; frameworks; jade; java; lotus; objects; reuse; software; wordpress
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-111 next last

1 posted on 09/20/2010 8:52:40 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay
I hate Java.
2 posted on 09/20/2010 9:07:12 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The only stable state is one in which all men are equal before the law." -- Aristotle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum

Java is taking over the world.


3 posted on 09/20/2010 9:16:56 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

Ping


4 posted on 09/20/2010 9:18:05 AM PDT by FoxPro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

I’ve been out of the programming Biz for awhile now. And hopefully things have really changed for the better. I just don’t know that it has from personal experience.

And now with that being said, I found that the concept of re-usable code was a great concept. But in practice led to Bloatware. That is software that had so many Re-used modules that had unused portions in them that were unnecessary for the project at hand.

And quite frankly in the software projects that I worked on it turned out that the most efficient use of code and equipment usually came down to a single individual writing and then handing it over for testing to another individual or small group that was known for breaking code and finding bugs or faults.

The end result was code that is still in use 20+ years after being written.

And once again I am no longer in the programming Biz. So if things have improved to the point that re-usable upper level code is feasible. Then go for it.

Also as a side note. My brain got worn out while trying to remember nuances and syntax in the various programming Languages, I learned, Assembler, BASIC, RPG, COBOL, Fortran IV and 77, C, C++ They sometimes became a jumble in those late morning coding sessions. And after all that I found that it was too much and just concentrated on one.

Today I just do some farming and I am happier than I have been in Decades. There is something to be said for downsizing to a simpler lifestyle.


5 posted on 09/20/2010 9:20:38 AM PDT by The Working Man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

The only method I’ve ever seen work to get people reusing code is full group code reviews. You can talk a lot about best practices and libraries and everything else, but the punchline is that unless people know there’s something in house that’s already solved Problem X they aren’t going to go looking for that code to use, they’re going to write their own. The most common sentence I’ve heard uttered in full group code reviews is “I didn’t know we had that”. Of course the problem with full group reviews is you have to stop all development for a week or two and lock everybody in long very boring meetings. It’s usually worth it in the long run, but it’s a hard sell.


6 posted on 09/20/2010 9:26:05 AM PDT by discostu (Keyser Soze lives)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

Bump for later


7 posted on 09/20/2010 9:27:05 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Things will change after the revolution, but not before.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Working Man

I’m an old guy too - pretty much been all those places and done all that just like you. I remember when the new fangled C++ compilers came out - I was much more excited about the graphics support in the package than the ++.

So, in fact, I wrote the article more for guys like you and me than anyone else. Things have changed; but in case you’re wondering - there still are bad programmers in the world. (LOL!) The more that gets perfected for reuse, the better.

Back in the 1980s, I worked on “toolkits” for creating certain types of applications. They weren’t perfected until they had been seasoned with the experience of at least three applications. You could have things like reading and parsing the same kind of file (why do that more than once?) and generating the same kind of file, and match them up in different ways to translate various file types in and out of the file type the toolkit was designed for. You could also provide utilities to help.

Yes, a lot has happened since then. I tried to make the article both easy to ready by not belaboring details, but hopefully enough to get the point across. The battle for reusable code is moving target (as the article points out), but what we’re looking at here is the fact that looking back on so many years of experience - there’s some meta-knowledge with the knowledge. And that just might come to something.


8 posted on 09/20/2010 9:34:03 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: discostu

What did you think of my discussion of that issue in the article? And the description of the solution I’m pointing to?


9 posted on 09/20/2010 9:36:13 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: ShadowAce

ping


10 posted on 09/20/2010 9:38:31 AM PDT by LearnsFromMistakes (Yes, I am happy to see you. But that IS a gun in my pocket.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

11 posted on 09/20/2010 9:39:39 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum

I only do Java after going through algol, pascal, fortran, assembly, C, C++, Cobol, Basic, Visual Basic, Access and probably a couple I’ve forgotten. Java ain’t perfect though.


12 posted on 09/20/2010 9:55:47 AM PDT by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

“Java is taking over the world”

To the extent that is happening, it’s mainly “push” rather than “pull”.

The available skill sets in kids these days is what drives the use of Java, rather than any considered need or desire to use it.


13 posted on 09/20/2010 10:05:13 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: DaxtonBrown

Nothing’s perfect. I know C++ converts who treat it like a religious experience though. C is still faster at math. Even dedicated Java programmers should step out of Java if they have some very heavy number crunching to do. BTW: You’re experience isn’t with J# is it? You know that’s not real Java.


14 posted on 09/20/2010 10:05:13 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

There’s this thing called the Internet ....


15 posted on 09/20/2010 10:06:32 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: The Working Man

Ding Ding Ding!

And we have a winner!

You, sir, are correct.

A lot of people now (particularly young, foreign developers) just try to glue together a variety of crap they find for free on the Web. And the end result is quite a spectacle indeed! :)


16 posted on 09/20/2010 10:07:25 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

Well, if you want to consider dynamic weeb page development “programming”, then point taken. (I assume that was your point.)

To me, that’s little more than scripting. And besides, perl is pretty popular for that purpose too.


17 posted on 09/20/2010 10:11:10 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

You realize that the article you’re posting under really isn’t about Java. It’s just that I can also think about the issues you raise.

Yes, JSP does offer an alternative to in page scripting. I don’t use it myself, but never thought there was much reason to argue with people who do. At first, it looked like you had to refresh whole pages to use it - which irritated me to no end, so I argued against using it myself. You could do it so much nicer with Ye Olde DOM techniques.


18 posted on 09/20/2010 10:16:54 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

and HTML5 is supposed to expand and simplify interaction with server based process. :)


19 posted on 09/20/2010 10:25:19 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

But BTW: networking is useful for more than serving web pages.


20 posted on 09/20/2010 10:27:23 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

And you realize my original post was to someone saying Java is taking over these days.


21 posted on 09/20/2010 10:32:33 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

“But BTW: networking is useful for more than serving web pages.’

I spent a decade doing contracting and consulting in industiral networking. And now I work for a large company who’s sole dominion is networking.


22 posted on 09/20/2010 10:35:40 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

It’s statistically true. Java has become an extremely popular language. It has been and is being used in a very large number of systems. It’s just a fact.


23 posted on 09/20/2010 10:43:28 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

I do think that it is a good article.

I should also point out that I think that programming really is a young persons game. And by that I mean someone new and fresh to the Art and science of Computer programming. That person can be in their teens or into their 50’s. It’s just that they need to have a fresh point of view and that wonderment that comes with playing with a new toy.

Because that way of looking at things and the desire to play with it gets burned out fairly quickly by the bureaucracy of programming.

When I first started to program we could be given a task to complete and have a trial version within days that the user could look at, comment on and come up with details or enhancements that the user had failed to point into the initial request. And within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time a new application was born and put into official use.

By the time I got out of the biz a single line of code being changed cost a half a million bucks and 6 months of time in meetings, testing, meetings, yada-yada.


24 posted on 09/20/2010 10:44:40 AM PDT by The Working Man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist
I spent a decade doing contracting and consulting in industiral networking. And now I work for a large company who’s sole dominion is networking. But you think the Internet is only for serving web pages?
25 posted on 09/20/2010 10:45:16 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: The Working Man
Yep, I am definitely an old guy too. Back when; I was quite fascinated with the whole idea of mastering the design and building complex systems. I probably did too many 12 hour days. I have had detours into marketing, project management, executive stuff, and other things.

One of my fondest desires for the open-source project is that some people who still have a great desire to meet the challenges of programming show up, get properly oriented to the technical concept and the project, and take over the programming tasks.

If it works out, I'll graduate (asap) into the project management and out into project related business.
26 posted on 09/20/2010 10:52:50 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: The Working Man

Come to think of it: make that 16 hour days. And thanks for the compliment on the article.


27 posted on 09/20/2010 10:54:46 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

Designs are easy to reuse. Implementations, not so much.


28 posted on 09/20/2010 10:58:16 AM PDT by MortMan (Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill: a four-putt.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MortMan

Yes. But it is my view that technology is closing in on the issue; so much so that bad management and bad programming will - to a greater and greater extent - be the only reasons left why that’s true.


29 posted on 09/20/2010 11:03:38 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

Easy to preach reusable software. It’s like writing an article in favor of motherhood and apple pie. People have been writing software now for at least half a century - maybe a bit more. Some software gets reused - other times the same wheel gets reinvented over and over again. My prediction is that 50 years from now you could write the same article, bemoaning the same failures and proposing the same solutions. Call me a cynic - that’s fine.


30 posted on 09/20/2010 11:04:01 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay
In my experience, time is always the biggest factor. "They" want it developed yesterday. So "they" turn to quick and dirty programmers who have no problem re-inventing the wheel in 6 weeks. A cultural change has to take place in a company for people to recognize the benefits, both short and long term, of reusable code.

It took me years to teach co-workers and management that if we write it once, we test it once. Quality Assurance was always the bottleneck to releasing new sftware. We had so much spaghetti code that had to be tested that it impacted our release date by months, not weeks, every single time.

The key to success in changing the culture at my (former) company was to implement a suite of software tesing tools. Once the testers realized they could build (write) a set of tests and run it against the code over and over to their hearts' content, I had an army on my side. They began asking for reusable code so they could reuse the test harnesses they had already built.

I prototyped examples for the application developers and encouraged them to expand upon the ideas. Even the "quick and dirty" programmers began to catch on. I added extensive comments to my prototypes always making an effort to explain why more than what. "The user documentation explains what it does," I would tell them. "Use your comments to tell the next programmer what you were thinking and why you decided to write it this way."

The time it took to test and release software updates that included the reusable code decreased exponentially. Management was so impressed by the "time factor" that they began allowing us to rewrite sections of the spaghetti code with each new update/release. And what programmer doesn't relish the idea of rewriting some piece of crap instead of fixing it over and over?

Convincing the software testers of the benefits of reusable code was where I started. It was a huge success in my particular experience because they had always been the bottleneck. Removing that obstacle enabled more software releases in less time, which made management and customers ecstatic.

31 posted on 09/20/2010 11:07:04 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay
'C' is for real programmers! ;)
32 posted on 09/20/2010 11:12:10 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist
The available skill sets in kids these days is what drives the use of Java, rather than any considered need or desire to use it.

Exactly. Heaven help us if they ever have to clean up after themselves or have limited memory/disk/bandwidth resources. I've never seen such lazy, sloppy programmers than the ones coming out of school these days.

33 posted on 09/20/2010 11:24:06 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

Well, hopefully the article shows that I’m aware of the “moving target” problem. And I did propose a new solution (or at least a way to improve things). That’s something, isn’t it?


34 posted on 09/20/2010 11:25:33 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Ping


35 posted on 09/20/2010 11:25:41 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BuckeyeTexan

Amen!

All that “it’s already been coded for you!” stuff is fine, until it doesn’t exactly do what you want.

They comes the duct tape and layer after layer of “glue”.


36 posted on 09/20/2010 11:27:56 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: BuckeyeTexan
'C' is for real programmers! ;)

Yes, it was a huge step up from the version of BASIC that came with my 1981 version of DOS; and I love the way it made adapting to JavaScript so easy. Seriously - I did C for years. Nothing wrong with it - blended the high level (3rd generation) with low very nicely. Fast math processing too, especially after match coprocessors came out.
37 posted on 09/20/2010 11:29:16 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

“But you think the Internet is only for serving web pages?”

I don’t recall stating that. But now that you mention it, I’d say that (and video) comprises 95% of it’s use.

You got another figure? Please share.


38 posted on 09/20/2010 11:29:53 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

“It has been and is being used in a very large number of systems. It’s just a fact”

Define large number? If you mean #of apps, maybe. If you mean nubmer of user sessions, I disagree.

I presume like most people you mainly use a web browser, email, a word processor and some spreadheet software.

Can you point me to any serious contender in any one of those areas that’s written in Java?

The “real deal” is still done primarily in C++ on the desktop and other consumer devices.

And when you get to less consumer oriented, less GUI reliant devices, C is still king. And it will be for the forseeable future.

Why? Cuz it aint broke.


39 posted on 09/20/2010 11:34:39 AM PDT by Pessimist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: BuckeyeTexan
BuckeyeTexan: That's one of the best success stories I've ever heard. When I started reading the post, I was afraid I'd be disappointed with a longer sob story and just be responding to the first couple of sentences.

BTW: If I had, I'd have mentioned there's a big difference generally between project managers who have engineering experience and those who don't. The lines in my article about managers preferring rapid prototypers over good practice - and the one about this leading to longer more expensive projects producing lower quality is from experience. But then, I switched early from being a regular employee to an hourly wage consultant - ethical as I was, I'd try to talk to managers about the don't follow the "twinkle in your eye" ideas about good software - just hurry up and make things appear on the screen being a very bad idea - and after sincerely trying, would accept the situation which I knew would result in much longer contracts. In the world of project work, you have to be a team player.
40 posted on 09/20/2010 11:37:53 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

Pessimist; I think you’re spinning. OK, if you don’t like Java, I’ll agree to accept that you don’t like Java.


41 posted on 09/20/2010 11:40:35 AM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

[You’re experience isn’t with J# is it?]

Woops, that’s one I completely forgot about, along with C#. I started to try them, but got out quickly.

I wanted a language that would still be around in 20 years so I wouldn’t have to continuously rewrite code from scratch, so I think I guessed right going to Java (everyone said I was a fool for not going Microsoft). Now I just do in house stuff for my real estate, so code longevity is more important than bleeding edge or keeping up with the microsofties. Also free development platforms like netbeans save a ton of money.


42 posted on 09/20/2010 11:47:57 AM PDT by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist

All applications on Android devices are Java applications.


43 posted on 09/20/2010 11:52:00 AM PDT by DigitalVideoDude (It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit. -Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Pessimist
Why? Cuz it aint broke.

Amen!

44 posted on 09/20/2010 12:05:31 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

If you liked that story, sometime I’ll tell you about implementing version control software at the same company. They were using multiple machines with multiple copies of the code as backups and development sandboxes and using the unix date and time stamp for version control. And recompiling code in production.


45 posted on 09/20/2010 12:10:58 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: DaxtonBrown
Woops, that’s one I completely forgot about, along with C#. I started to try them, but got out quickly. ... (everyone said I was a fool for not going Microsoft)

I think we've already reached the stage where I don't have to put "IMO" next to the comment - "good move."
46 posted on 09/20/2010 12:13:46 PM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: BuckeyeTexan
LOL! I worked for a large company that hired a consulting company to do development of a new billing system. The company was so large that they had many different divisions with custom billing needs; and there were 17 orders within the company. The consulting company was run by a close personal friend of an executive in the development division.

All the billing systems basically worked the same way and even had input / output into the corporations other systems. But instead of writing one billing system that could be customized, the wrote 17 billing systems and for a while, had 17 maintenance contracts - each serviced by a large group.
47 posted on 09/20/2010 12:19:40 PM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay

I’m terribly sorry, but I couldn’t quite figure out just what it was you were proposing. Is it some sort of library that can be shared across enterprises? If so, that is going to be a non-starter for many, many applications due to the proprietary nature of much commercial software. Are Apple and Microsoft going to share their programming secrets with one another? Wells Fargo and Citi Bank? You get the idea.

It’s a bit like another much more prosaic issue which is ride sharing. Anybody can sit on a crowded expressway in rush hour and see car after car with exactly one occupant each and think to himself or herself - Gee what if there were 3 or 4 occupants to a car - wouldn’t that be better? And also to think that they had the “answer” while everyone who came before was “stupid” for not figuring this out. But still, people still drive their own cars and probably will continue doing so.


48 posted on 09/20/2010 12:53:12 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
There are plenty of situations in which the blocks you suggest do not exist; within very large businesses for example. And there are situations in which industries could not exist without cooperation; telecommunication for example. There's a whole host of military applications; both within the technical assets of a country and with allies. And there are of course, the Internet stereotypical applications in retailing. But the technology itself would not limit its own use to freebee sharing type scenarios. You could buy or license the software components you get from third party developers, for example - even do that automatically according to a set of rules - or subscribe to a service. ....

There's nothing to suggest that I need be concerned with whether Microsoft will ever start giving software away - however - I could mention that they do it all the time. The of course sell some products, but then offer large amounts of upgrades, add-ons, and customizations without cost. The EU stepped in a couple of years ago and forced them to stop giving so much away, because it violated their anti-trust laws.
49 posted on 09/20/2010 1:03:58 PM PDT by RogerFGay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: RogerFGay
Yes. But it is my view that technology is closing in on the issue; so much so that bad management and bad programming will - to a greater and greater extent - be the only reasons left why that’s true.

I disagree. I work in an industry where unneeded and unused functionality is anathema - and will prevent certification of the system containing the software. Adaptive reuse - using the design as a template for the construction of a tailored solution - is a better alternative in my industry.

Technology cannot eliminate the difference in requirements for different applications.

50 posted on 09/20/2010 1:06:56 PM PDT by MortMan (Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill: a four-putt.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-111 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson