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Antipatterns and the DBA

 
Gus Spier
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Bill,
I come at the problem from the other side of the coin ... as the DBA assigned to support the Java developers. To me the root cause of many antipatterns seems to be the developers' perception that the database is nothing more than a "persistance layer".

How do we persuade the intrepid code slinger to use the features of the database and refrain from re-inventing the flat wheel?

Regards,

Gus
 
Bill Karwin
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Hi Gus,

That's a tricky issue. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I once had a coworker who was expert with Java and he had a Ph.D. in computer science. But I saw him write code from scratch in Java to do what should have been a simple outer join in SQL. I offered to show him how to use an outer join, but he literally forbid me from explaining it to him.

It's usually more of a personality issue than a technology issue. There are all sorts of reasons why people don't adopt best practices. You'll have to work with each developer and judge on an individual basis how to get them past their resistance. For example, in the case of my Ph.D. coworker, I believe he was so proud of his education and advanced skills in Java that he was embarrassed to try anything that would make him feel like a newbie again.

You might be interested in another book by my publisher, called "Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act On Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should" by Terrence Ryan. Terrence has thought a lot about how to identify the different types of resistance, and strategies for working with each type. His book is currently available in beta, but you can get the e-book right away.

http://www.pragprog.com/titles/trevan/driving-technical-change
 
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