[Pipet Devel] welcome

ecn at fault-tolerant.org ecn at fault-tolerant.org
Thu Sep 28 22:06:30 EDT 2000

 > I hope that not everyone is a lurker ;-)

Ok, I've been lurking for a while.  Might as well throw out some of my
wacky ideas.

About 10 years ago I was involved in building some basic business
systems using object-oriented programming techniques.  I was
disappointed by various architectures I built at the time.  Yet, many
of these were approaches were encouraged by experts at the time.

Specifically, Model-View-Controller was pushed as some sort magical
fairy dust which would simplify user interface design.  I've never
found it helpful for separating concerns in ways that anticipated
future changes.

Another bit of magic bandied about was Business Objects, which would
somehow let you build Business Systems by integrating pre-existing
components.  I never found two people in the same company that could
agree on a hard definition of "Person" or "PurchaseOrder".  In fact,
maintenance changes to systems were the result of changing definitions
and roles of existing business entities.

After I stopped building these systems, I sat down and did some heavy
thinking.  I tried to think of the day-to-day changes that I actually
saw, vs the kinds of changes my software could absorb.  For example,
one of the most common changes was to add a field to the database and
the screens for new business rules.  But with MVC or Business Objects
these sorts of changes were not trivial.

After much thinking (and with some help from some friends) I began to
envision business systems built around data flow.  Data would flow
from databases and into forms and back to databases, or printed
reports, or as email, or instant messages, or whatever.  Flexible
representations of data (XML) and configurable user interfaces
(toolkits, scripted GUIs, browsers) would respond better to the most
common sorts of changes.

Furthermore, business rules were easier to see and manipulate as
dataflow, rather than "permissions" or "state-change diagrams".

 > If anyone wants to help with something but maybe doesn't know what
 > to do, then don't be shy, speak up, tell us your interests, and we
 > can find something appropriate.

So I'm interested in business-systems-as-dataflow.  Anyone else?


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