Sometimes you keep things “in the family.” Other times, instead of crafting and sending an email to your teammates with the assumption no one read it, you blog whatever you were going to write in the email. Then, because (let’s be honest) none of your teammates read your blog, you cut-and-paste the content from your blog post and send the email anyway. They’re not reading your email either way, but at least you can now cite yourself as an authority, now that you’ve blogged about the topic. Everybody knows blogging is a big deal.
This blog post is the latter case. In case you weren’t taking careful notes from the above paragraph, by “the latter” I mean “this post was inspired by a work argument, and I promise not to sound too vindictive or passive/agressivey while presenting my case.” Enjoy!
From Ayende (disclaimer: he wrote a book about DSLs):
- Enabling change by hard-coding everything – Here Ayende teases at what is to come. Read the comments, if only to hear speculative counter-arguments (or more specifically, read about real-world scenarios where hardcoding is abused).
- Enabling change by hard-coding everything: the smart way
- JFHCI: The evil that is configuration
- JFHCI: Considering scale
Similar posts I came across recently:
- Configuration ‘come to Jesus’ – David Laribee talks about the evolution of developers away from XML configuration. In the comments, he gets to the heart of the matter (so, read the comments).
- Okay, apparently I didn’t come across anything else recently.
A further (lazy) case for hardcoding
This is by no means an exhaustive linkblog post; I just (lazily) skimmed the surface. If you want to look at examples of people moving away from XML configuration, look at the Castle/NHibernate stack. (Windsor XML configuration and .hbm schemas are dying, being replaced with, dare I say it, “fluent interfaces”. The point isn’t the fluent part, the point is they’re code-based.) Witness the ascent of psake and rake in .NET for build scripts. Witness MEF and the scenarios it enables (we probably won’t need any of them, honestly). Witness FubuMVC and it’s nigh-empty web.config.
I’d prefer to discuss this with a concrete example, but, alas, I’m way too lazy. Let’s just try doing this without expending any effort:
If I can summarize, XML (and by extension MSBuild and NAnt) can die in flames, and I hope it does so sooner rather than later.
The love of money XML configuration is the root of all evil. The end.