George Chiramattel - Software architect with over 15 years of indiustry experience. Generally interested in anything related to Technology and leading a Full Life.
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FlipThroughMovies.com has a new theme

Last night we rolled out a new theme for FlipThroughMovies.com.

FlipThroughMovies.com home

We have also made it easy for you to share your feedback. So keep 'em coming :)

Launched FlipThroughMovies.com

I am happy to announce the launch of FlipThroughMovies.com. This is the culmination of the hack that we worked on during Yahoo OpenHack. You can use this site to navigate through movies available at BigFlix, the popular movie rental site in India.

The site uses publically available data from BigFlix and presents it in very interesting manner - check out the video to get a feel of the site's capabilities. 

*Please view in HD and in FullScreen mode* 


I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following three individuals in making this site a success.

  • Ann Catherine Jose

  • Manojayan Vembakkam

  • Ram Adhikari

  • Yours truly :)

Some technical highlights that might interest you:

I will write a different post explaining other difficulties that we faced on getting this site up and running.


You aren't gonna need it!

There is an abbreviation for it - YAGNI. What does it mean? Let me explain by a story.

There was this project that was started under a lot of time pressure (btw, which project is not?). And since, success was crucial, the best minds were assembled to form the team. Considering the urgency and the need to get going fast, the team hurried through the requirements. When it was time to start implementation, it was clear that there were two distinct schools of thought on how to proceed.

The design-purists wanted to make sure that the system could accommodate all scenarios that were considered. They were also creative enough to come up with some very reasonable use cases that were not thought of initially.
The second group, guided by the principles of agile-development, was crying out - yes, you guessed right - YAGNI. They had their rational:

  • Every additional feature that is built is a liability to maintain, and
  • Only time can tell which features would eventually become useful.
Both camps were adamant on their stance. On one hand, there were claims that said ''design should be elegant; and if it's worth doing it, it should be done right'. On the other hand, the agile camp was equally strong with their set of arguments. This is the after-effect of having a team with good caliber people with strong opinions.

Now that we have reached this far in the story, let's analyze how to proceed. To make it more interesting, let's assume that the management decided to hire YOU as a consultant to help resolve this situation.

Did I hear YOU say - 'Nice try George - why drag ME into this mess'? I agree - it's not fair on my part to create a plot and put YOU on a spot?. So, I will help you by joining in the analysis.

Let's start by acknowledging that this is a classic conflict scenario. The real problem comes when you become 'too agile' or 'too formal'. In simple terms, extremes - be it over-design or under-design - are not good. You have to have a pragmatic solution.

'Easy to say George, but how do you suppose I solve this problem?'

Let's continue the analysis. It's good to know the variability in the system. After all, architecture is all about managing variability and protecting those things that are difficult to change against - well, change! But if you design the system to accommodate all possible variability, the system might become too complex. That is the time when 'being agile' - which essentially means 'the readiness to change' - helps. In fact, change can be less costly if the system is not complex to start with. So, if you cannot anticipate all variability, it might be more pragmatic to be simple to start with, but at the same time be prepared for change, the inevitable.

So, it's good to think through all possible scenarios, as a thought exercise, but resist the urge to go ahead and implement all of them. Also, being agile is not an excuse to be unaware of complexities. Ignorance is bliss, but can turn out to be costly later.

Both camps should be aware that in a solution space, there can be local minimum and global minimum. Being pragmatic is to invest time to be aware of the global minimum (with the knowledge available at that point) but resist the urge to build for it. Instead, focus on the critical few that will get you going.

'Ah ha! So I get it George, I should check with the agile camp to see if they are being plain lazy. And also check with the purists to see if they are getting carried away by the elegance of the design and inadvertently make the system too complex'.

Yes, so I conclude the story and take the author's privilege to declare that YOU managed to resolve the conflict and came out victorious. Congrats YOU!

p.s. I encourage you to read up on the following related topics - K.I.S.S and D.R.Y.


Yahoo Open Hack Day 2009

I have decided to attend this years Yahoo Open Hack Day - 2009.

More details about the event [http://www.hackday.org/]

  • where ... : taj residency, bangalore
  • when .... : 14 - 15 february 2009

I am looking for a hacker buddy - so if someone is interested in forming a team, let me know.


Back online!

Some server maintenance done by my domain hosting provider had caused my blog engine to crash. The error log clearly stated that DBD::mysql was missing. Though I had raised multiple service requests, the problem remain unresolved. I got frustrated to the point where I was thinking of switching to a new hosting provider.

I kept pushing this because of all the work involved in the migration - lazy me :-). I thought of stretching my luck by reopening the support request for one last time - Fortunately, this time, some one *did* take a look at this and the problem was resolved.

So, here I am - back online.


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