Merb in Action: Ch 1 Thoughts

Last night I read the first chapter of what will become Rails 3 in Action. So far, I really am enjoying it.

One of the things that frustrates me the most in my own projects is this feeling that things need to be big and get abstracted before they can be useful. I guess it might be a hold over from being a student and wanting to over achieve, or maybe just the classic problem of the hobbyist who tinkers but never manages to really build anything.

It is a gumption trap, to use a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-ism; a thought that sort of stalls my work on a project.

“How will this be useful to anybody?”

“How can I get this to a usable state?”

I think I am getting better at this problem, but sometimes I feel like I have this irresistible urge to over-architect things that gets me into trouble.

What this has to do with Merb in Action?

Well, the thing I thought was really cool was where the authors linked to the pastie that started it all, clocking in at ~120 lines.

I look at that and I think two things.

  1. I usually over think things
  2. I can do this.

The beginning of merb is completely grokable. It reminds me that something doesn’t need to be fully designed. It just needs to be useful enough.

or you could just say:


You Ain’t Gonna Need It.

YAGNI is part of the reason why I have been trying to use BDD in a more disciplined way. By using the Feature->Spec->Implementation workflow, there is less temptation to add neat features on the backend that are never used. I have worked on a number of projects where I ended up writing more code than I needed, than was used.

Writing from the outside in helps to manage that some. After all “no code is faster than no code.”

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