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


Your posts are a lot like bits of sand in an oyster - as an irritant they stimulate some wonderful conversations and generally produce some real pearls in the end.

I'd take the opposite side of the argument - data design is everything, and software is simply the means of expressing that data in certain ways. If you have a good underlying concept about how your data is designed, you can build any number of software applications on top of that data, but poor data design will kill even the best software. 


Kurt Cagle
Invited Expert, XForms Working Group, W3C
Managing Editor, XMLToday.org

On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 6:32 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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