Friday, December 31, 2004

Right Direction or OverComplexification?

As the years have gone by, there has been this definite feeling that we are going in the wrong way, in terms of Macromedia Coldfusion.

Both in how we have standards for developing, and in what we focus on.

One article, I remember reading last year on InternetRetailer.com, is that ecommerce retailers have been too focused on what is the correct technology to use. Then they get hooked into bells and whistles rather than what is cost efficient to bring the core results they need.

If I remember correctly, I may be misquoting.

"They should focus more on the ROI goals/results, less on what technology they use to get there."

To me this can also apply to how we use/develop ColdFusion.

I have always seen Coldfusion as a tool to rapidly develop web applications. But over time it has become 20-30 different things to different people. But we have lost that touch with our core, and we still haven't resolved issues of ColdFusion Development...

Here's what we should be focusing on.

1. Built-in tools/addons for Standardized Project Management - As CF Developers we are rarely familiar with Project Mgmt, and it's lack makes us look less professional, then developers of other languages.
2. We need a web-based workflow/source-control system, that is standardized to help remote & local workers, work on different parts of the same project.
3. We need a universally accepted standard of coding style. We may all have variations of this, but we need something as a starting point.
4. We need an automatic documentation system, that forces us to document each component of each application.

We may each have our personal favorites, but that doesn't prevent us from needing a universal style for all cf developers.

As long someone's coding style doesn't make it unreadable to someone else, who may not be a follower of that style.

Face it, if the code isn't readable, how the heck can we improve/fix code?

We must plan for obsolescence and the worse-case scenarios, because it's very sad and frustrating to always be fixing fires.

I think it's time, that we have our top leaders in our community and in Macromedia, create a ColdFusion Standards Group.

The goal would be to create standards in coding, project management, workflow, source control, in a way that can be easily understood and used by everyone.

I am not pitching any methodology over any other. As long as that methodology can release code that is readable by others, who are not of that methodology.

Once we have standards, then we need tools to help us more easily follow that standards.

This is something i have been considering for a while. At first, I thought this could be an add-on to Dreamweaver/Studio. But now I feel for performance and security, it must be a web-based add-on, to IIS/CFMX Web Server.

What do you think?

What is your right direction? And does it make it easier to right code, or for others to read your code, and does it make it faster for you to write code?

Efficiency is one of the keywords for ColdFusion, it's very easy and fast, if you know what you are doing....

2 comments:

  1. Hi Craig,

    Why not allow anyone to post a comment on your blog so people don't have to register with Blogger to comment. I'd really like to see the discussion you would get from this post.

    Great word. "Overcomplexification" should be added to the dictionary. The definition could be "Space prohibits us from providing you with a valid definition of this word. Please use an encyclopedia."

    I think you're right on with your focus points. Numbers 1,2 and 4 sound like you're looking for a sort of Uber-SiteSpring. Maybe somebody in the developer community could take a stab at it again. Maybe Adobe will decide to go up against MS in the Project space.

    I'm constantly watching the windows source control space to see what companies are coming up with.

    The forthcoming VSS.NET totally misses the mark for most of us. They are not providing full support over tcp/ip. It looks like there are solid offerings from companies like Seapine and SourceGear.

    For automatic documentation part, that seems pretty well supported for cfcs already. It could use a little refinement and maybe a few best practices, but it's there. I don't think you'll be able to force documentation by software alone. It's always going to take some discipline and oversite. You can make some of the nuts and bolts automatic.

    I think the fusebox/Mach-II people could make a strong case for already satisfying point 3 about the standardized coding style.

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