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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Friday, June 25, 2004

Is there such a thing as appropriate technology in computing

Appropriate technology is a big thing in the environmental field. Designing something to do its job as well as possible and dont overengineer it.

It seems to me that a lot of web based technology is the complete opposite. I once heard that programmers like to show off by making a big thing about every little feature in their software and adding in new features that no one uses just to show how clever they are.

To see what I mean open up your favourite word processor. Take a good look at all the items in the menus. Have you any idea what most of them do?

And a word processor is a fairly simple piece of software really. Ok I know there is someone somewhere who's job depends on one of those byzantine functions but let them get something that does just that rather than overloading a general purpose program.

I guess its the old unix maxim of each program doing one thing only and doing that one thing as well as possible and then its up to the user to do incredibly complex things with pipes, redirects and the like to string together the simple functions.

I have been looking into a few software design methodologies and larger "enterprise" systems for developing web based applications and sites. All I see is endless layers of abstraction and reduction. Personally I just find it all totally confusing. I know its vital in many ways to ensure things are efficient when they are running and can be worked on by large teams of people. For individuals working on the projects it can be very daunting sometimes just to know what the hell your working on!

My current project uses lots of URL rewriting which is fair enough. But there is no real easy way of knowing what page your viewing in your browser at times, especially when several pages have simillar text in them. I have been reduced to changing the title of the page I think I am looking at to "foobar" and hitting reload to see if I am right.

Permanent link and Comments posted by Rob Cornelius @ Friday, June 25, 2004

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