random musings on software development and management

It's just a blob of text - don't think too much

If this blog has an intended focus, it's developing and scaling SaaS applications in a web 2.0+ world. As grandiose as that sounds, it's really just another way of saying that this blog is about how to make sure everyone who wants their blob of text gets it whenever they want it.

There are thousands of books, articles, blogs, and podcasts that claim that one web application framework or language is better than another. Despite what the ferocity of the arguments may imply, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with most of these technologies. You can't blame the technology because those of us in the software development world forgot that development was not the end goal, but merely a means to and end. For most SaaS applications, that end is nearly always the humble blob of text.

That blob of text may be sent via HTTP to a user's browser, via HTTP to some other SaaS application, or written to a file (and then served by the web server via HTTP). That blob of text may be unstructured text, or it may contain some kind of markup or structure. The blob of text may be important up to the second financial information. It may be a dashboard that alters the course of a Fortune 500 company. Or it may be a link to a photo of a kitten. Regardless of the content, markup, or purpose, it's still just a blob of text.

Many of the challenges surrounding application development stem from the affectation of the humble blob of text. Sometimes it's caused by a developer missing the goal of abstraction and instead landing on indirection. Other times it's caused by a fundamental mismatch of framework and team organization. Occasionally, merely the idea of making something "better" is enough to steer even the most seasoned astray.

We should all strive to give the humble blob of text the respect it deserves.

tags: random