RE: Better design: "flatter is better" or "nesting is bett
If you search the archives, somewhere in the past I explained dimensions and
the coupling effects and noted that it could be visualized in applications such as
The interesting effects are the coupling effects. Semantics don't scale well so
we tend to flatten out the rendering client data (the application language may
be XML-compliant, but that is still just a format). What is more interesting
is for scale (semantic complexity) to couple to scope (data used by a domain)
to reach (data used among domains or in aggregates).
Again, the decisions about the neighborhood based on the customer types
AND information types are the ones that make the most difference to the
business. Essentially, one is choosing the personal productivity tools
(eg, office tools such as spreadsheets, word processors, etc.) and the
business productivity tools (domain specific tools such as the databases
for the business type, the command and control tools, etc.). Unless these
interoperate, the business stovepipes and it gets hard to push business-based
reports into office tools, and vice versa.
There are two strategies one sees touted:
o Because semantics are the hard part, choose a single platform and distribute
it as widely as possible. Even if proprietary, it is reliable. Costs go up and
cannot be controlled by the buyer but if your business is of great value to you,
you can't afford not to do this.
o Because semantics don't scale, choose open formats supported by the
largest number of users. Even if open source is a risk, it has the lowest
costs and the best set of alternatives. Costs go down and can be influenced
by the buyer. The trouble is semantics matter to the buyer because they
determine the operations one can perform, so if the semantics are too limited,
you can't afford to do this.
The question of cost vs operational complexity is always there. What the
web taught us is that we can do without many of those operations, and if
we factor amortize costs over time, we get those operations back without
an uncontrollable rise in costs.
In the long term, open always wins. The razor for the market type is
the buy cycle: what can you buy now and sustain for how long given
the minimal operational space you must cover.
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