geeky · personal

critical mass

when a codebase gets so large and unmanageable, that it’s impossible to work with. Of a software product, describes a condition of the software such that fixing one bug introduces one plus epsilon bugs. When software achieves critical mass, it can never be fixed; it can only be discarded and rewritten.

yes that’s how i feel about dmb right now. a bit sad but more reflecting. it doesn’t surprise me if the total solid coding time i spent on that site is over 10,000 hours.

the foundation of dmb, the now extincted software devbb, was very poorly written. back then i didn’t know better so when i first started hacking i wasn’t concerned with its efficiency. time goes on, i was more focused on getting “cool” features implemented than making the code more efficient. i guess for the most part, you can’t blame me. i was a naive and new coder and no one really gave me a heads up. the recent server move for dmb really got me thinking. no this is not the first time i thought about how inefficently is dmb coded but it just hit me, if it keeps growing like this, eventually it will break or it will be too big for me to handle.

i’ve considered rebuilding the board with another bb software like phpbb. but how much time will that take to make it to today’s standard? i also question my ability. how much more efficient can i make it if i were to rebuild it? what happens when technology gets even more advanced in the future? am i gonna have to rebuild it again?

my feeling toward dmb is so mixed. sometimes i imagine myself running dmb until i’m retired. other times i feel eventually i will let it go. maybe one day my amibition will die down tho i know i will always love programming.

12 thoughts on “critical mass

  1. i totally think you should run it on phpbb cause its php once again and you can make it better and bigger! you could totally run it dodo, but you need help! people who know stuff like you to help you manage it and keep it online. we all love it. we want it to stay!

  2. Aww.. cheer up… it all depends on yourself.. there’s new stuff coming out everyday….. if we keep upgrading, when will it ever stop? I don’t know but think about it… if you want to rebuild it… try phpbb and do your best… smile alright 🙂 Trust yourself.. you can do it if you want…. =D

  3. Dodo, DMB is great just as it is, but Im not behind it 100% as you are, so you’re the only one that has the deep inside look on it, as well as the final decision upon it. I’ve always wondered myself, why you haven’t made a board yourself, since you’re such a great coder, but i suppose you have your reasons. Im sure if you decided to totally rebuild DMB, there are people by your side that will help you with anything you need no matter what, who are also excellent coders, and full of ideas.

    What ever you decide to do, I will stand behind you 100%, and if you ever need opinions or minor help, you can always count on me. 😀 Good Luck dodo!

  4. Dodo, i am personally content with dmb, even if i will have to wait a long time while you rebuild it. I don’t know how much my opinion counts for, but i definately think that its worth the wait.

    my advice: save your hacks, and just modify them to fir phpbb, or whatever you use.
    make sure to not lose your data, it will make your job much easier.

  5. If you are planning to move I wouldn’t recommend phpbb… though it is very flexible when it comes to themes to the point that you can make each theme look as different as you want (like wp 1.5) it ends up alot more painstaking and will take more work than other forum software. I do cuggest XMB or mybb and if you can spare the money I recommend vbulletin

  6. hehe, well, you should be ditching php and go to perl or even python if you really want to learn the best programming language – those languages are wayyyy more compact than languages such as php in most functions, so you’d be spending less time developing and more time thinking about the features :D.. mmm… after reading Paul Graham’s articles, i’m learning lisp, believed to be the best general purpose languages (good hackers equiped with that language can program a program with the same functionality in abotu 20th of the time it takes to develop the equivalent program in C/C++/Java).. mmm.. when the language is aided by about 5 packages, you can rapid develop online applications very fast, since the M syntax is very similar to XHTML, you can almost integrate XHTML into your coding, making it an excellent alternative to php.. so my advice = ditch php, and take up another language, even if you wouldn’t use it later, it’ll still make you a better programmer, becase the best programmers can think about a problem when abstracting away all of the language specific stuff, so the more you learn, the better you will be 😀

    1. hrm isn’t lisp a functional language? i did program in haskell before. yes function language is very efficient but there are also limitations. i remember seeing a simple game done in haskell and it can not be done w/o outstream as most of regular language would not need.

      1. no, LISP is one of the oldest language, also one of the most complete. It is a functional language by origin, but then, recent additions (1998) to Common Lisp has added a very powerful object system (CLOS).. lol, so it can be very very object oriented if you wish it to be 😀

        here is a very good article done by one of the leading expert currently in lisp, it talks about how lisp is different from other languages and what made lisp so powerful and flexible (did you know that you can completely redefine most of the functions in lisp, and almost everything lisp is either a macro or a function..).. anyhow, here is the article: http://www.paulgraham.com/diff.html

        here is a book on learning lisp if anyone is interested: http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/

        and here is another misunderstanding (at least i think so), lisp is by origin NOT efficient in terms of how much computing power is used up. In fact, lisp is not meant to be used as a programming language at all, it is originally meant to express extremely complex algorithms in very simple terms, which is in sharp contrast to fortran (the language of choice in the 60s). Now, with a great proflier, you can very easy make the compiled code to run as fast as C, or even faster in some cases. Another adventage to lisp is that, when a brilliant programmer use the language (it’s not for mediocre programmer), a program can be made in lisp 20 times faster than in C++/Java. That, i believe, is the most important thing in our world, both current and future, since machines are getting faster and parts less expensive, language is no longer optimized to run on machines, language is optimized to suit a programmer, not the machines..

        i always welcome more input :D.. mmm.. if you want, send me an e-mail, we’ll talk more 😀 i’m extremely interested in talking to anyone about computers/graphics/physics (mostly advanced physics).. hehe, have fun 😀

      2. you should also read the first chapter of the book Practical Common Lisp, it describes why should you choose lisp over other 903457092384 languages :D.. mmm.. also, Paul (as you can see, he’s my idol :D)’s chapter 1 of his ANSI Common Lisp describes why should you choose lisp over other alternatives:http://lib1.store.vip.sc5.yahoo.com/lib/paulgraham/acl1.txt, oh yah, the Practical Common Lisp chapter 1 link is:http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/introduction-why-lisp.html

  7. If you do plan to switch to PHPBB, wait a while until they release PHPBB3 which is a different build with many new features and hopefully simplified templating via CSS and easier recoding/modding. They have set early march as the release date…
    The Main ‘ick’ will be converting your existing SQL database entries to be compatible @_@ good luck!

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