design issues

29 May 2003

So, I’ve been wrestling with some design issues, and also wrestling with some time-management issues.

The design issues involve a typical RDBMS-backed application design question: how should I store my objects in the database? On one hand, I could do the obvious thing, which would be to just design the tables the way I want them, and then instantiate my perl objects from that. This is the approach I took when I designed PAESSO , and the path that I’ve started down so far on this project.

I put a lot of thought into the PAESSO design, and in a many ways, I basically recreated a lot of the structure of J2EE in Perl. Which leads me to another approach: adopt whatever has been done to mimic J2EE, which turns out to be P5EE . Sadly, P5EE doesn’t seem ready for prime-time yet, nor is it clear that I’d have any fun traveling that path anyway.

On the gripping hand, I could steal a page from JWARS and store my objects as “blobs” in the database. (Of course, I’d use the Storable representation.) This has a certain simplicity, but I always railed against it in the JWARS meetings, simply because it breaks the beauty of language independence in the RDBMS. For JWARS, only Smalltalk can understand the objects; for my app, only Perl could. Admittedly, in either case, it’s unlikely that many people would want to parse the data with any other language. But there may be some. It would certainly be nice to get at JWARS data from perl. Or C++, or Java…, or anything but Smalltalk.

The time-management issue is my perpetual whine that I don’t have the time to work on these things. This is largely a result of my recent marriage and impending dad-hood. (About which I’m delighted, I must say.) I am a bit melancholy at times that I don’t have the time to really focus on the little projects that I’ve set myself; to include writing this Blog-engine.

Despite a crappy weather forecast for the week, when I left work today it was great sailing weather. But Zette had arranged to go look at houses, which is both good and bad. Over the holiday weekend (last Monday was Memorial day) we went to visit Niagara Falls, as well as her relatives in Rochester. Her cousin Mike has a small sailboat that has been in his garage for the last eight years. Cool as Mike is, I don’t want to be him.