Contents tagged with Architect
Something that I haven't liked for a long time is the use of branches in a projects. I don't like the waste when it comes to merge between branches, "Merge hell". In the beginning of the project I'm in now, it took hours to do merges before a release, both handling conflicts, but also selects different changeset that should include and not include in the merge before a release. The hard part was when a branch per feature was present. Later on this was changed into one single dev branch, but still sometimes two branches may exists. The team was used to work like this from previous projects. To handle this merge hell one dedicated person handle all the merge so the team can work undisturbed (not true, they were involved when conflicts occurs). Even with a dedicated person, the problem still exists, it was just moved. The time it takes to do the merge, was there, the problem with non-disciplines people that did not following the guidelines when it comes to fixing bugs in different branches, or forgot to merge into the main branch, created problems. Wouldn't it be nice to get rid of all the merge problems, let everyone just work in the same branch? There is a way, it may not work for every projects though (sometimes a bigger change may be useful to have in a single branch, but I think it should first be avoided). The solution to the problem is what Paul Hammant calls "Branch by Abstraction".
Rich Internet Application (RIA) is an interesting topic. More and more business apps are moving into to the cloud, and more and more will have better User Experience (Ux). According to Gartner Research, nearly 60 percent of all new application development will include RIA technology by 2010. Today we can use different technologies to build a RIA, for example, AJAX, Flash and Silverlight etc. When it comes to AJAX we will soon reach the top of what we can do with it, because of the limitation of HTML, Client-side scripts and the browsers etc. That makes Silverlight and Flash more interesting regarding to me. But what is RIA? RIA It’s an internet applications that looks and feels like desktop applications, it also provide most of the maintainability and deployment benefits of Web applications. A RIA client can have state, so to increase User Experience, the user can work with data for a while until it will be passed down to the server for processing. Because the client side of a RIA can have state and work with data for a while, it’s extra important to have concurrency in mind. Some other users can have changed the data during the time we have worked with our copy. When developing RIA Clients we need to have several things in mind, for example a RIA is often running within an execution container in the Browser, so people can hit the refresh button or use the back and forward buttons, which can be reload the whole app and the current state can be gone. When we creates a large RIA, we can’t let users wait for hours until the application is loaded and started, so we need to load views etc on demand, and split them into small “modules”. Developing a RIA is not like developing a stateless ASP.NET app.
During the age of the Windows DNA, most of us developers used COM/COM+ and a 3-tier architecture. Where we separate concerns by placing the views to present data into a layer called PL (Presentation Layer), we add all business logic into one single layer called BLL (Business Logic Layer), all code that handle data access was also placed into its own layer called DAL (Data Access Layer). During this time when Windows DNA was a hot topic, most application used this architecture.
By using DCOM it was easy to distribute the different components in the layers into distinct tiers. DCOM had its advantage and also disadvantage (DCOM hides the "distribution" and distribution could be done after application was written without the developers awareness, most applications wasn't designed for distribution purpose.). There was few application I was involved with that used DCOM, and I will in this article focus on the application that didn't use DCOM. The 3-tier architecture was well defined and common used. Several applications today used this architecture. When .Net arrived several developers was scratching their heads, it was a whole new platform for most of them and a difficult and confused time began, "how should this 3-tier architecture be applied on the .Net platform?". Web Services was introduced somewhere around this time and that was a bright light for some solution architects and developers, now they understand how to apply the 3-tier architecture on the .Net platform, the answer was to replace COM/COM+ components with Web Services. So instead of using a binary standard for the communication, XML and HTTP was used.