I really loved a couple of phrases from the Ted’s blog post “Agile is treating the symptoms, not the disease“: the title and the last sentence: “We are in desperate need of simplicity in this industry.”.
Writing software it is still way to complex in these days.
I can recall few attempts to make it easier, they all failed: Java Enterprise & EJBs, Web Services, Enterprise Service Bus.
Rather than making things simple they forced you to write more code, to use lots of xml, tons of libraries, implementing unnecessary interfaces.
How many days do you waste every time you start a project, just in infrastructure & build files?
REST seems so simple, but implementing REST in the right way seems always so damn complicated, so everybody writes RESTish services, a good progress compared to old style web services but still…
What about web applications?
I like the simplicity that can be achieved with Sinatra, Scala , WebLocks and Seaside.
But still, the impression is that nobody is trying hard enough to make all these things even simpler.
The Twitter example
I’ve started using Twitter only few months ago (even if I’ve the account since 2006…), it started to make sense when I’ve linked it to my Facebook account. Facebook is like software in these days: way too complex.
Too much stuff, too much noise, too difficult to get what you really want.
Then I’ve started to use TwitterFeed as well, I’ve my flickr, google reader and tripit profiles feeding the twitter account.
So we have three content providers, one content consumer and forwarder and one content receiver, it’s a fairly complex architecture and it never failed so far, it’s quite stable, it just works.
I didn’t had to write a line of code, I’ve pressed just few links, it all works using RSS in a RESTish way.
How do you imagine software development in ten years?
I do imagine it like in the twitter example, an aggregation and collaboration of few simple services working together.
The role of the Agile movement
Agile is treating the symptoms, it’s true, I’ve seen many times agilists (including me) preaching for the old good principles (don’t reinvent the weel, keep it simple, etc) but how many times do we have to rewrite the same software?
For how long will we have to rewrite the same objects, the same business logic?
Why are we still writing web applications like ten years ago? Why are we still using Spring, Hibernate, Databases, Layered Architectures?
I think it’s time for laziness, simplicity and more real reuse, somebody told me that it’s an utopia, but even only trying will make the IT world a better place to be.
Agile can cure the disease
The Agile developer community, being so open minded and always embracing chance has a great chance to change the way software is written.
There’s not so much new from a process point of view in these days (at least, that’s a complaint that I’ve heard from many people, especially coming back from big Agile gigs), but there’s so much work to do on the technical side of things.
The NoSQL movement is one of the signs that something new is just born and growing, don’t miss the opportunity.