[nSLUG] Article on why monoculture gets picked

Soren Aalto soren.aalto at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 09:42:59 ADT 2007

On the "why does everybody start a new project" issue, there is
something I don't think has been touched on...so far...in this thread.
Do people start new projects because of ego reasons, or do they
find it easier to start from scratch rather than go through the learning
curve on an existing project in order to be able to contribute.

I'm betting a lot of projects start on a small enough scale that it
isn't worth diving into an existing monster-sized pile of code.  Then
they grow.

The questions that are worth asking are about reusability of code.
I think this is a problem that Comp Sci talks about a lot, but really
hasn't been solved, at least not in common practice.

I had/am having a micro-version of this issue.  I wrote a quick & dirty
JSP app just for doing SQL queries, displaying the results sets a page
at a time, then added output to HTML/CSV/HTML-with-Excel-mime-type.
Pretty useful.

Now, can we find an existing project that does this plus a lot of other
nice-to-haves, like publishing queries, saving queries on the server,
uploading CSV data, graphical output...I found a couple of projects.
One of which I couldn't get to work quickly...the other of which was
less polished, but worked.  Then I looked at maybe extending this
project and found myself trying to figure the authors own personal
servlet framework...and I wasn't so sure if I wanted to add to this project
or to try and put the features I wanted in my existing stuff.

This isn't a criticism -- I think it's really hard to write code (and
accompanying design/tech documentation) that other people are
going to want to read, be able to understand and effectively be able
to use for some new purpose. I've often thought that a lot of the
habits/attitudes you see in the open source community reflect interesting
observations that need to be made about the (re)usability of code in
general, OOP pundits of yesteryear be damned.

Soren Aalto
Director: ICT
University of Zululand

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