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Why use a framework?

Posted by Luis Majano
16 Jun 2010 11:27 AM

Catchy title huh?? Well, I was doing some digging around today and found some fantastic things I would like to share and open for discussion.

Why are frameworks like ColdBox, Model-Glue, Mach-II, etc, important? In all reality, they are extremely important, because if they did not exist we would end up rewriting them in some shape or form.  Software is all about reusability and adapting to change.  Nowadays it is also about adapting faster and faster.  How many developers working on tight deadlines have the time to ponder and think about all the “magical” ways they can make their components be reused in the future? Or how to really build that SES engine better than anything out there.  These are great things to have, but they don’t happen often in reality.  We are tasked and need to get things going fast and deliver our business.  I like this quote:

And let's face it, business requirements change so quickly that by the time someone else comes along to reuse your stuff, it probably needs to be re-written anyway. By Elastic Path

I can honestly say that every project I worked before using a framework started very simple and with simple architecture.  Then as requirements change and grow, more features are needed, and I get cornered into some areas of resolution:

1. I can rewrite what I have in a “get it DONE” fashion just in time for a release.  This could result in buggy or hard to test code.  I still have not really adapted but just expanded.

2. Download that super duper library I found and just squish into my simple architecture.  Again, I am introducing things that are hard to test and could result also in new bugs of introducing a library into my environment.  I have not really adapted myself to change, again, just expanded.

3. I can begin to modularize what I have, apply OO analysis and design and create a pseudo-framework that can accept new components more easily without breaking what I already have and expand it.  Ok, now I start to adapt, but at what costs?

I might like number 3 but I end up creating a framework of my own or home grown frameworks tested in one environment only, by a small subset of applications and only being able to adapt to a small arena of evolution.  This is where proven libraries and frameworks come into play.  There is a wealth of value in these libraries as they are used world-wide, different loads, different requirements and their number one priority is how to adapt to change and make our development more efficient.  Now, I won’t go into how one is better than the other, etc.  Each framework delivers their own feature sets, implementations, etc, but that does not REMOVE the benefits of reusing these libraries.

I am a big proponent of reuse and open source (couldn’t you tell), and I truly believe in avoiding building anything from scratch if I can.  I know there are cases when things that I need do not exist or are not built yet, and then I would consider building them.  If not, reusing libraries such as ColdBox, just empower me to deliver my business needs faster, gives me a great platform to develop on, I can get help around the world, I can extend its functionality to adapt for change, and so much more.

I strongly believe in community reuse and collaboration, why reinvent the wheel so many times for so many projects just because I don’t want to use something that somebody else wrote, or because I think frameworks are just too complex to work with.  This is not a good business decision that could potentially bite you in the future.  Writing open source frameworks and libraries is hard work and it takes immense number of hours on research, testability, adaptability, modularity, reusability, etc.  The work of framework authors is something to be valued upon and certain trust on them has to be developed.  I truly admire my colleagues like Dan Wilson, Mark Mandel, Matt Woodward, Peter Ferrell, Sean Corfield, etc.  I know their devotion to helping our community and at the end of the day make our community business needs better.  Relying on open source professional frameworks is something engrained in so many communities like python, java, ruby, etc.  The benefits really outweigh the cons.

In conclusion, this commentary arises out of certain discussions of late with some developers on why the need of reusable frameworks.  I hope this can give insight into why use a framework or open source library.  Again, I welcome your thoughts and opinions.

The institution of Developer Friday!! (Managers Better Listen)

Posted by Luis Majano
29 Sep 2006 12:00 AM
Are your developers demotivated? Burned out? Too much work? Too much of the same thing over and over again. Well, welcome to Developer Friday!!!

This is the day we came up with my superior of a way to stimulate diversity, learning and fun for the developers, at least once a week. Our developers can work on personal projects or just learning projects every friday. As long as there are not any pending deadlines, production issues or overwhelming issues.

This has been phenomenal. We have developers learning Flex, creating new web 2.0 apps, showing off their personal projects, and basically promoting learning and a little bit of FUN!!

So managers, listen if you dare!! I did!! and it has paid off. We have been getting the best ideas every friday now. New techniques, getting to play around with new frameworks, specially ColdBox (had to throw the marketing here) which is AWESOME, coldspring, etc.

To tell you the truth, if it were not for this day, I will have not begun to play around with coldspring, which I am a total newbie and need to start learning it so I can extend it for ColdBox.

This is my testimony and it has really improved the learning environment. So developers out there, bother your managers and bother them again, so you can have one day of the week to learn and inspire.

Wokly Work Ethic: Me wrong.... NEVER!!!

Posted by Luis Majano
26 Apr 2006 12:00 AM

As always, here is the weekly work ethic, brought to you by G TUcker!!

 

Like most men, I have at times had trouble admitting when I have done something wrong. However, I have learned ( I am still learning actually) that It's a wise person who can take criticism and learn from one's mistakes without getting upset or angry when someone points out their errors. Think about the following: What makes you successful -- Good decisions. How do you make good decisions -- Experience. How do you get experience -- Bad decisions. Of course, there are always consequences for bad decisions, but you will come out on top if you learn from them. So I encourage you. Go ahead and make those bad decisions. Just remember there are consequences and be prepared to take responsibility for your actions.
Admitting your own mistakes is hard, but too much obstinance and pride will corrupt your humility.

Weekly Work Ethic: Fear vs Love. Which is the greater motivator?

Posted by Luis Majano
18 Apr 2006 12:00 AM

You can see the previous work ethic subjects by clicking here.

 This was a very controversial issue in our office and it definetely created some nice comments, and some weird ones.

 Here was mine:

The greatest motivator should be love. Fear might work in the small spectrum, but this will not grant respect or leadership. Love & Patience should be your greatest asset in any situation.

 

Again, this is something I've learned from my kids. I've sometimes threatened my kids or tried to scare them into doing something (I call this Fear). They may do it, but usually they don't want anything to do with me after - I've alienated them. And I know that if I continue treating them that way as they grow, they will reach a point where all they want to do is to move out of the house and go live on their own. But if I sit with them and explain to them how important they are to the family and let them know that I need their help to make the family better, ie I let them know their value to me (I call this Love) - Wow, things get done and everyone is at peace. Fear is easy to do - that's why we do it so often. Love is hard, it requires a lot of patience and self control. So what does this have to do with us here at work? Well, how do you try to motivate someone to do something - through Fear or Love. With fear a person will only do so much. With love they will do so much more. With fear, a person will follow you so far until they say "Ya, No Mas". But with love they will follow you to the end...

Here are some interesting comments:

 Definitely Love. With fear of course you can make things happen only for short time. There is a limit for how much one can tolerate. And once it reached, then no fear will work. There will be a revolution. History has proven. Adolph hitler, Idi Amin, Suddam hussain and many big dictators regime vanished.

But at the end in a work environment the ultimate motivator will always be fear... fear of loosing your job and not being able to support your family. Of course, Assuming that you are not the owner of the company, in which case what drives you is something completely different. For Love to be the motivator at work you need to feel yourself deeply identified with the company, feel that its success is also your success (and not the rich owner's success). How do you do that? I have no clue.

 it all comes back to respect for each other and employees. And more importantly, showing appreciation for a job well done... just to hear commendation makes a huge difference in motivation and employee attitude.

I think love is the driving force behind motivation. Not love of a FAM trip or love of another person, it has to do with your love of the job. You have to love what you do. If you love it, you take pride in your work. You take care to do a good job. You work harder to make deadlines. The clock should not be a deciding factor on when you leave, the task at hand should be.

Fear is the worst motivator out there. People, we are quite possibly the best darn team in the building.The quickest way to lose such a fantastic crew of workers is to employ fear as a motivator. This is because strategies that implement fear not only cause performance levels to go down, but it eliminates the desire to compete. While fear forces compliance, it almost never results in superior performance. We must also realize that fear is not conducive to creating respect. Management 101.

 Lesson of the day... fear can easily burn out the best of us. The envelope can be pushed only so far before it is realized that there are more important things to do in this short life rather than let fear control us. "Scratch my back a little nuh." Even out some of the work load. Love is the key, respect is the most wonderful thing that can be shown to an employee. Lets break down the Burlin wall! I have a dream! "Come here nuh!"

 

Weekly Work Ethic: You earn respect when you show respect

Posted by Luis Majano
10 Apr 2006 12:00 AM

Last week I started a new series based on a series that a co-worker and friend of mine started at our workplace.  This has in turn created some interesting comments and pointed out some interesting ideas that everybody in the workplace can now express.  This week's series is how you can earn respect from your co-workers when you show respect.  This is an important topic in a workplace, specially when you are in situations where people don't like to work or help.

 Here is quote:

 

One of the things I've learned from my children is that in order for them to respect me, I have to show them respect. I can not demand respect from them without first showing/teaching them respect. So which comes first? Is this like the chicken or the egg? Do you have to show respect to get/earn respect or do you have to get/earn respect before you can show it? What's your opinion?

 

Here are some interesting comments from our department:

"I think this quote should be re-stated specifically for our department because nothing holds true around these parts. It should say, If you are shown respect, please give respect. "

"wow,23 million and no dinner or fam? now that's incentive"

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ExzZAVbGYo&search=another%20one%20bites%20the%20dust says it all"

Weekly Work Ethic: Servant + Leader = Servant Leader

Posted by Luis Majano
03 Apr 2006 12:00 AM

I am starting a weekly series inspired by a co-worker and friend of mine at Sandals, Gary Tucker. He started his weekly series in our internal network, and I believe that his content applies for any company or employee out there that has a not so great working environment or is in the process of achieving one.

I believe that if we are in a position of leadership, then we should be the first ones to guide, serve and direct our workers to a more respectful and stable working environment. I hope that this series can inspire you to improve your work ethic and environment. I would greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions, I know that everybody deals with the issues I will expose.

Servant + Leader = Servant Leader
What !!!!!
We all know about servants and we all know about leaders. But have you heard about a servant leader - A leader who leads by serving and serves by leading. I believe that the IS department is a service department. Whether it is answering a call about a broken mouse or creating an application for the company, in every aspect each person in here serves the rest of the company. However, we are also one of the leaders because we are the ones that lead the company into new technology, new ways of marketing and distributing our product and new ways of making our product available 24/7 to our customers.
If we are to be the servant leaders of this company, we have to begin in our department, where each person serves the other regardless of rank, race, religion, gender, etc . So the attitude that you should try to have always is one of "How can I serve you today".
PS -who is getting me breakfast this morning? What's your opinion?

 

What is your opinion? Also, if you have any suggestions for weekly topics, let me know. 

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