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Re: [xml-dev] Argument: Software design is important, data design is not

I'm going to agree with Mr. Cook on this one; everything is wrong with this argument.  Software _is_ data, it's data about how to handle other data.  Now, it has some context which, in the right hands, turns it into information. And if you put that information into the right system or persons hands and you might get useful knowledge, but at the end of the day without the data you have nothing.  

As to data design, in the end it's all a graph (data and therefore software) but what allows us to traverse that graph efficiently is making the right connections between vertices in the graph.  Those resultant connections are data design, be it OO, relational, documents, what have you, and they have only two purposes: human consumption or  to make graph traversal (ie; software) simpler.  Spend as much time as you can on data design, once you have that correct then building your software will be much easier, if it's even needed...

Peter Hunsberger

On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 8:32 AM, Costello, Roger L. <costello@mitre.org> wrote:
Hi Folks,

An argument:
In the final analysis what matters is giving consumers the information they need in a form that is useful to them and performing the actions they request. And it is software which does that. So it doesn't matter whether you use a data format that is simple and lightweight, or complex and heavyweight. In fact, the design of data to be exchanged matters very little, as long as all the data that is needed exists. At the consuming end software can extract the data and store it in memory in a form suitable for efficient processing. Software is king! Data design is only needed to the extent that you document and define what it contains; other than that, do whatever you want. Software design is important, data design is not.

What is data design anyway? A typical response is: a good data design is one that enables software to do its job better/easier. Again we see that data is just in a supporting role to software; data is not the lead character (to use an acting metaphor). If the data is to be consumed by diverse software packages, a single data design cannot make all the software packages do their job better/easier, so why bother doing any design? Arguing that one data design is better than another is a waste of time and, in fact, it's meaningless. Spend minimal time on data design and create great software designs.

What's wrong with that argument?



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