tagged by: web development
Datensparsamkeit is a German word that's difficult to translate properly into English. It's an attitude to how we capture and store data, saying that we should only handle data that we really need.
In recent weeks I've been playing with, and looking at, compiler-compiler tools. A common feature of these tools is that they have a grammar file whose core is a description of the production rules of a grammar for a language. As well as describing the grammar, the file also provides information to the parser about how to process the language as it recognizes the language elements. In most compiler-compiler tools these instructions are represented as actions in the grammar - often these actions are encoded as as fragments of code in a high level language.
When you write tests against a web page, you need to refer to elements within that web page in order to click links and determine what's displayed. However, if you write tests that manipulate the HTML elements directly your tests will be brittle to changes in the UI. A page object wraps an HTML page, or fragment, with an application-specific API, allowing you to manipulate page elements without digging around in the HTML.
One of the most common ways to modularize an information-rich program is to separate it into three broad layers: presentation (UI), domain logic (aka business logic), and data access. So you often see web applications divided into a web layer that knows about handling HTTP requests and rendering HTML, a business logic layer that contains validations and calculations, and a data access layer that sorts out how to manage persistent data in a database or remote services.
One of the biggest issues with media websites is dealing with high amounts of traffic. Media is all about getting eyeballs, but if you get too many hits at once, slow performance can cause problems and damage your reputation. This problem is exacerbated by the bursty nature of this web traffic. You can be cruising along at a manageable rate, then get hit with a big news story which causes a big spike. One of our clients have seen spikes of two orders of magnitude in a matter of a couple of minutes.
Serverless architectures are internet based systems where the application development does not use the usual server process. Instead they rely solely on a combination of third-party services, client-side logic, and service hosted remote procedure calls (FaaS).
Increasingly web developers are using languages like CoffeeScript and SCSS that compile to other textual source languages that execute in the browser. Such source-to-source compilers (also called transpilers ) are not new, Cfront was widely used in the early days of C++ to generate target C code. But for me there is a difference that picks out CoffeeScript and SCSS as transparent compilers
In the last few years there's been a lot of discussion about Web 2.0, both about the concept and it's value as a Neologism. My involvement in this is limited, I've read and heard Tim O'Reilly on the topic, and took part in a workshop he organized. There's a lot of confusion out there, however, so I guess it's time for me to make a futile attempt to reduce that confusion. (Since I'm interpreting Tim for much of this, if we disagree on anything you should believe him.)
The last couple of months have been heavy on the travel (towards the end of it I calculated that I'd spent 40 out of the last 44 days on the road) which is why my website has been quiet. Now I'm back home again and can reflect on some of it - and the goto conference is always full of things to reflect on.