Architecture Chat 13 (or is 14?)

The Sylvia Park Architecture chat was today, bit slow to start with, but not a bad turn out with 9 of us in the end.

First some stats:

Number of people presenting at teched 1 (Alex James)
Number of people going to teched 3
Number of people going to codecamp 7'ish

First off I asked the question, should you open source software that is key to your business, sparked by a recent conversation with and old business partner who's been considering open sourcing the product I helped develop for him - mostly because the business makes money for deploying/consulting/configuring the software more so then licensing it, and the remote chance of other people using/promoting etc. the product couldn't hurt the companies profile.

This sparked a bit of a debate, and certainly a few of the people developing products in the group had some opinions.

  • It's not a matter of make the source available and they will come, you need to actively construct a community around your product.
  • You need to make all the communications for the project visible.
  • If you cannot communicate the vision for your product clearly, you'll never get traction with the community.
  • By and large you’re better off focusing on making money, there's a long lead time before OSS projects gain traction.


We then moved onto something a little more hands-on, talking a bit about Rhino ETL - I ran through my experience so far (personally I'm liking it a lot) and the feedback from others was that SSIS does about 98% of what you need, with the customization work required for the other 2% taking as long as the rest of the project!  I could see RhinoETL being a great little swiss army knife for a lot of data-related projects in the future, especially with its target support.

Keith's question was asked, when is PeterB going to start blogging/bliki'ing... not any time soon I believe was the response, as he requires some kind of alter-ego... Along the same lines we also briefly talked about the decline in blogging, and what “good” blogs people read among all the noise that's out there today...  Technology-savy VC's came up in the conversation, such as Paul Graham (of "hackers and painters" fame).

Tagging & tagging file systems were next on the table (like Alex James's XTend which got a mention) and Peter noted that the upcoming service pack for Vista should make it a lot easier to organize data via "piles" i.e. dragging documents without an author over a pile of documents by a certain author will assign the author to the anonymous document.

The key point/concern was that these kinds of tasks must not make search operations harder i.e. Categorization should never penalize search operations.

Talked a little about BDD or Behaviour Driven Development, this struck a chord with Peter who has been doing something very similar with existing clients, though I'm not sure I articulated the Analysis side of the BDD very well - there's a nice BDD introductory post on the blog.

In my mind at least BDD is all about ubiquitous language – I see it as the central tenant of BDD, where energy and thought is put into keeping the business level parts of corporation or company in-line with the development/software/solution parts - tying it all together with a common language/vocabulary.

Digging in deeper we have some software frameworks to help with BDD testing:

Roy Osherove recently posted a nice "look" into the use of BehaveSharp too, worth a look.

On a similar note Test Driven Development cropped up, with the interesting question of just how you could "force" or "lead" someone through the process of developing test first (without just having them watch a screen-cast) ... easier said then done I think was the consensus.

Also briefly covered was Lightspeed 1.0 and the announcement of the versions/pricing came up... Some of us were intrigued by the model-based pricing structure :)

Incidentally Like the container tutorials series I did, I also index these blog entries (and some general information about the Sylvia Park chats) on my wiki.

Written on August 9, 2007