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Search - "enterprise computing"
nephew: what's the meaning of word "Enterprise", particularly in computing context?
me: No worries about that. Once You endup in enterprise You will know
nephew: How do I know?
me: when bug in your software prevent at least 250 people from doing their job, congratz, You are in Enterprise! And You will know that instantaneously, trust me :)2
So for those of you keeping track, I've become a bit of a data munger of late, something that is both interesting and somewhat frustrating.
I work with a variety of enterprise data sources. Those of you who have done enterprise work will know what I mean. Forget lovely Web APIs with proper authentication and JSON fed by well-known open source libraries. No, I've got the output from an AS/400 to deal with (For the youngsters amongst you, AS/400 is a 1980s IBM mainframe-ish operating system that oriiganlly ran on 48-bit computers). I've got EDIFACT to deal with (for the youngsters amongst you: EDIFACT is the 1980s precursor to XML. It's all cryptic codes, + delimited fields and ' delimited lines) and I've got legacy databases to massage into newer formats, all for what is laughably called my "data warehouse".
But of course, the one system that actually gives me serious problems is the most modern one. It's web-based, on internal servers. It's got all the late-naughties buzzowrds in web development, such as AJAX and JQuery. And it now has a "Web Service" interface at the request of the bosses, that I have to use.
The programmers of this system have based it on that very well-known database: Intersystems Caché. This is an Object Database, and doesn't have an SQL driver by default, so I'm basically required to use this "Web Service".
Let's put aside the poor security. I basically pass a hard-coded human readable string as password in a password field in the GET parameters. This is a step up from no security, to be fair, though not much.
It's the fact that the thing lies. All the files it spits out start with that fateful string: '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>' and it lies.
It's all UTF-8, which has made some of my parsers choke, when they're expecting latin-1.
But no, the real lie is the fact that IT IS NOT WELL-FORMED XML. Let alone Valid.
THERE IS NO ROOT ELEMENT!
So now, I have to waste my time writing a proxy for this "web service" that rewrites the XML encoding string on these files, and adds a root element, just so I can spit it at an XML parser. This means added infrastructure for my data munging, and more potential bugs introduced or points of failure.
Let's just say that the developers of this system don't really cope with people wanting to integrate with them. It's amazing that they manage to integrate with third parties at all...2
Serverless and death of Programming?!
I hate serverless at work, love it at home, what's your advice?
- Is this the way things be from now on, suck it up.
- This will mature soon and Code will be king again.
- Look for legacy code work on big Java monolith or something.
- Do front-end which is not yet ruined.
- Start my own stuff.
Once one mechanic told me "I become mechanic to escape electrical engineering, but with modern cars...". I'm having similar feelings about programming now.
All of the sudden everyone is doing Serverless, so I looked into it too, accidentally joined the company that does enterprise scale Serverless mostly.
First of all, I like serverless (AWS Lambda in specific) and what it enables - it makes 100% sense and 100% business sense for 80% of time.
So all is great? Not so much... I love it as independent developer, as it enables me to quickly launch products I would have been hesitant due to effort required before. However I hate it in my work - to be continued bellow...
_I'm fake engineer_
I love programming! I love writing code. I'm not really an engineer in the sense that I don't like hustle with tools and spending days fixing obscure environment issues, I rather strive for clean environment where there's nothing between me and code. Of course world is not perfect and I had to tolerate some amounts of hustle like Java and it's application servers, JVM issues, tools, environments... JS tools (although pain is not even close to Java), then it was Docker-ization abuse everywhere, but along the way it was more or less programming at the center. Code was the king, devOps and business skills become very important to developers but still second to code. Distinction here is not that I can't or don't do engineering, its that it requires effort, while coding is just natural thing that I can do with zero motivation.
_Programming is Dead?!_
Why I hate Serverless at work? Because it's a mess - I had a glimpse of this mess with microservices, but this is way worse...
On business/social level:
- First of all developers will be operations now and it's uphill battle to push for separation on business level and also infrastructure specifics are harder to isolate. I liked previous dev-devops collaboration before - everyone doing the thing that are better at.
- Devs now have to be good at code, devOps and business in many organisations.
- Shift of power balance - Code is no longer the king among developers and I'm seeing it now. Code quality drops, junior devs have too hard of the time to learn proper coding practices while AWS/Terraform/... is the main productivity factors. E.g. same code guru on code reviews in old days - respectable performer and source of Truth, now - rambling looser who couldn't get his lambda configured properly.
On not enjoying work:
- Lets start with fact - Code, Terraform, AWS, Business mess - you have to deal with all of it and with close to equal % amount of time now, I want to code mostly, at least 50% of time.
- Everything is in the air ("cloud computing" after all) - gone are the days of starting application and seeing results. Everything holds on assumptions that will only be tested in actual environment. Zero feedback loop - I assume I get this request/SQS message/..., I assume I have configured all the things correctly in sea of Terraform configs and modules from other repos - SQS queues, environment variables... I assume I taken in consideration tens of different terraform configurations of other lambdas/things that might be affected...
It's a such a pleasure now, after the work to open my code editor and work on my personal React.js app...2