People, databases, code and history

A couple projects that I’ve been working on for a while now have really impressed upon me the complications that result from the interaction of people, databases and code through their coevolution in the context of a long-running application with thousands of users. Well, I should say in the context of three long-running applications that were separately engineered, are in different parts of their lifecycles, have somewhat separate user bases, but have all their data intertwined.

From a high-level view, none of these applications or data models or codebases or use-cases are super-complex in isolation. But their interactions, plus the pressure of keeping things running continuously while adding new features, etc., really drive up the complexity to amazing levels, at least for my feeble brain.

It’s hard to convey this stuff in any concrete way without writing a few hundred pages, which surely no one would want to read… I guess that’s why it can be a little surprising to a person to run into these situations: millions of people have faced such crazy complexity in their work, but little of that is going to get passed on to others until they experience it directly.

So, I’ll just shut up about it.

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