Blog concept: Sketchy optimisations

Recently a colleague was showing me a concept he was working on. He drafted a change in a fight against so-called 1+n-queries (actually for some reason unknown to me they're called n+1 queries, but my head isn't able to process the problem with just one more query after n queries…); in software development using ORMs like active record it is quite easy to make a single database request objects that when a presented within a view trigger other queries for every object because it has a relationship. Round trips to databases are generally bad as they take time.

For his change, he introduced a new class that we could seemingly reuse, with a just another (a bad code-smell) declaration of relations between objects and whether these should be preloaded when retrieving the primary object. This was in response to indeed a quite bad part of our code that entailed returning objects with counts of selected associations, but instead of counting these in the database, the current code was a…

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The Mega apps

An article, posted 2 months ago filed in app, apple, eclipse, Evolution, java, linux, netscape, os, OSS, outlook, uml, Firefox, ai & mozilla.

Around 2000 I worked on Java Web apps using Eclipse, an open source IDE, which was also extendable with all kinds of tools. Since it was an IDE some made tools for drawing code with UML (connecting named boxes with attributes). But it was also the playground for tools less related to coding. It became a kind of OS running on an OS.

Less niche, was perhaps Netscape Communicator. It was a web browser, an email client, a webpage builder, a calendar … all in one. And also quite extendible again with plugins. The idea still lives on in the Mozilla Seamonkey-project.

A remnant of this is perhaps Microsoft Outlook. An e-mail client with integrated calendar app. An approach mimicked by Evolution on Linux.

I was reminded by all this [because Mozilla wants to focus on integrating AI in their flagship product Firefox](https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024/02/mozilla-lay…

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When to use x-objects?

An article, posted 4 months ago filed in ruby, rails, ruby on rails, service, architecture & when to use.

So I wrote a few short articles on when to use FormObjects and Jobs and ServiceObjects. The question is of course "it depends", but the leading principle I have is keep it simple. That being said, for inspiration, some suggestion for different layers to manage the application complexity from Vladimir Dementyev's talk on Railsconf:

Presentation

  • Controllers (standard Rails)
  • Channels (standard Rails)
  • Views (standard Rails)
  • Presenters
  • Form Objects
  • Filter Objects

Application

  • Authorization Policies
  • Jobs (standard Rails)
  • Event listeners
  • Interactors
  • Deliveries
  • Notifiers
  • Mailers (s…

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When to use Modules / Concerns?

An article, posted 6 months ago filed in ruby, rails, ruby on rails, service, architecture, when to use & modules.

Whenever your model gets too heavy?

The easiest way to clean up your classes might be to create smaller, more concise methods. The next easiest way of tiding up your models is moving stuff to modules (whether they are 'Concerns' or not). Modules can then be included in the final classes. It will lead to a crowded list of methods exposed on these classes, for which alternative solutions exist (Presenters, Decorators), but if you shield off private methods nicely and have a consistent way of naming things, I wouldn't be too concerned about that. Note that having many modules used in only a single class might be a code smell: perhaps you're trying to do too much with that single class.

Concerns or Modules?

When you're using Rails, you can make use of Concerns. They offer a few advantages over traditional modules, so use it whenever you're bothering recreating the same behaviour using plain old ruby Modules. I prefer consistency, so if you've adopted Concerns, use con…

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When to use Form-objects?

An article, posted 6 months ago filed in ruby, rails, ruby on rails, service, architecture, when to use, async, form & models.

When necessary.

It depends. By default I would advise against them; not creating Form objects to receive and validate data that could be validated by the Model directly. Even when you have a few nested attributes that belong to the main model modified, I would advise against Form objects. Keep It Simple.

But… sometimes you have more complex forms that don't fit the database-mirroring model as nicely.

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When to use Job (or Worker) objects?

An article, posted 6 months ago filed in ruby, rails, ruby on rails, service, architecture, when to use & async.

Always.

When you are able to do stuff async (not blocking the web-request), make it async. It will also reduce the need for a category of Service-objects. Worker or Job objects can often be called inline if desired.

Sidenote: I personally prefer the "Job" object name, a Job that needs to be performed. Worker is a name that was popularised by Sidekiq, but Sidekiq moved to Jobs as well.

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When to use...

An article, posted 6 months ago filed in ruby.

I've got some opinions about certain ways of setting up more advanced (mostly Rails) applications. These might be short 'posts' which I might return to later. Let's see how it goes :)

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When to use Service-objects?

An article, posted 6 months ago filed in ruby, rails, ruby on rails, service, architecture & when to use.

Never.

There is of course never an absolute answer to stuff but if you are running it in a background job anyway have you considered directly writing it in a Worker or Job-object? Note that you can always run jobs async when needed.

My main objection against service objects is that all too often they are ill defined as a category. So while having fat controllers or fat models may be a bad thing, just creating a bunch of somewhat arbitrary 'Services' is not making the code more manageable.

When considering adding a 'services' directory to your app, try to think of what class of problems you want to tackle. And when in doubt, just keep messing around with the somewhat fatter models & controllers.

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(Web/View) Components: Should everything be a component?

An article, posted 7 months ago filed in components, design system, structure, todo, programming, development, front-end & html.

Recently I was reviewing a merge request of some front-end code, and a simple div, that changed a bit of the custom appearance of a block of text through a few custom classes, was changed in a call to a view component that then applied the same classes, passed onto the component through a more deeply nested hash.

> -
> + ’itis ](https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/divitis) you get ‘TextComponent’-itis.. we don’t add better semantic or structural information to the page layout

Instead?

Keep the code as is. And perhaps create a ticket (or annotate it with TODO:) that you perhaps want to extract this ‘custom-class’ call into a true reusable component. While I don’t think there is something inherently bad with offering the option to override or add some custom classes to a component, a component should only be used if it adds structural meaning either from the developer's side of things or (better) from the consumer’s side of things (e.g. semantic output that can be p…

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How I purchase e-books

An article, posted about one year ago filed in amazon, kobo, ebooks, epub, revenue & usability.

I have a Kindle e-reader myself, but don't like a single monopolist like Amazon to control the market. So I try, whenever possible, to skip their market place. And that is perfectly possible. But say goodbye to one-click shopping.

(same argument probably also applies to the Kobo store, another popular eReader-manufacturer, but perhaps less evil for not being Amazon and supporting 'local' shops, e.g. Bol.com in the Netherlands… which is basically the Amazon of the Netherlands, oh well…)

The alternative

Many books these days come without DRM(!) … they're still watermarked, but that doesn't stop you from converting books.

So, it takes some dedication but my approach is:

  1. To search for the book's publisher, check their website for a purchase link and purchase it there.
    • Or use libris (Dutch independent booksellers collaboration), which allows you to pick a local Libris connected bookshop, and purchase an e-book from them.
    • And…

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Analytics

An article, posted about one year ago filed in analytics, privacy & gdpr.

How many people are visiting my site. What are the most popular pages? How did they reach me? How do they navigate my site. Data about this can help you make informed decisions on how to improve your site or app. Sadly this often comes at price: the privacy of your visitors. Alternatives exists for the major brands, and you can also collect some of the statistics yourself. Either using a self-hosted solution or just by analysing your log files. Yes, awstats still exists.

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pupprb

An article, posted more than one year ago filed in rubygems, ruby & gem.

pupprb is a simple wrapper around puppeteer, a tool maintained by Google Chrome engineers, which I primarily use to print PDFs. This gem simply wraps my default settings / approach in a relatively easy to reuse gem.

Source: @gitlab Rubygems: pupprb

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Dienstverlening

An article, posted more than one year ago filed in werk, murb & prijzen.

murb levert diverse diensten aan. Centraal voor binnen de dienstverlening zijn de principes van murb.

Maatwerk (web)applicatie ontwikkeling

Naast eigen diensten staat murb u graag bij om in een korte tijd nieuwe oplossingen te realiseren waarmee gewerkt kan worden. Waarna vervolgens doorgewerkt kan worden aan het verder verbeteren van die oplossing. Neem contact op voor de mogelijkheden.

TheStoryBehind.it

Met TheStoryBehind.it kunt u uw online kunstcollectie gemakkelijk ontsluiten voor de buitenwereld. Dit kan op basis van een eenvoudige excel file of middels een API-koppeling. Met CollectionManagement kan ook de collectie beheerd worden. TheStoryBehind.it is in te zetten vanaf €275 per jaar. Neem voor de mogelijkheden contact op.

HeerlijkZoeken

[HeerlijkZoeken.nl](https://heerlij…

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Triodos en de certificatenhandel

An article, posted more than one year ago filed in Triodos, certificaten, systeem, bank & geld.

De Triodos Bank staat vandaag voor de rechter in verband met diens problemen met de certificaten.

Die certificaten van Triodos zijn een soort van aandelen, maar niet helemaal. Ik heb er op papier zo'n best wat mee verloren. Ze maken echter deel uit van mijn pensioenpot (ben zelfstandige), die uiteindelijk, op de langere termijn dus, enigszins de inflatie bijhoudt. Maar de rechtszaak vind ik echt een vreemde.

De certificaten waren een balans tussen het bewaken van de missie, steun in kapitaal, en meedelen in het rendement, puur op basis van de ingeboekte resultaten, niet op basis van vraag en aanbod van iets een afgeleide.

Ik wil niet dat de bank verkocht wordt en een speelbal wordt van rauw kapitalistisch geweld op een beurs. Zeker niet omdat de handel in een afgeleid stuk papier dat los sta…

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On AI art

An article, posted more than one year ago filed in art, intelligence, ai & stable diffusion.

If you love art, don't bother reading any further. I'm stating the very obvious, but I felt I had to respond. It's NFT-style hype (in Dutch) all over again.

My Twitter timeline contains probably more than average amount of generated AI images, and it is labelled as AI “art”, generated by tools like DALL-E, stable diffusion, mid journey, tools that allow simple beings to create a Monet style picture of a 21 century scene, or complete the scenery of the milkmaid. And the way it is presented angers me.

While being quite impressive in terms of “how did the computer do this”, I hate to state the obvious, but: this is not art. In the end it is just more visual debris. You may put a frame around your Van Gogh 1000pc puzzle, it is not the creative work, even though you spend a day “creating” it. You’re also not an artist if you completed a 15 week course in landscape painting. Nor is probably your beautiful holiday picture, even thoug…

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