Now, Turning to Reason, & Its Just Sweetness (the aftermath)

This is the last part in a 3 part blog series on how to write code so you can build testable systems with external dependencies.  The first post can be found here

Thanks to Ken Scambler, Milly Rowett and Alyssa Biasi who all made contributions to the posts.

Things that happened about the design.

The initial design is pretty compact, and the components are well factored in terms of their responsibility, but I noticed a bit of a smell in the implementation where there was a bit of twisty-turny logic to deal with the receipt of the message on a queue, and then waiting around to see if the file existed.

The implementation problems the design creates (which I ended up ignoring for this example) is that if the file _never_ appears, you end up with all sorts of knots, and I don’t really want that sort of logic to be part of my “process the file” code.

Going through the design a second time with Alyssa Biasi we came up with separating the logic for the “got the message, wait for the file” and “process the file”. We can decouple these 2 problems and the responsibility for each part makes it a lot cleaner. Then we can tune the “retry logic” in the “wait for the file” code, and the “process the file” logic never needs to know. A simple IPC mechanism (another queue message suffices) and responsibility separation seems to be a lot cleaner. The nice thing is that it’s just another form of QueueProcessor, so we can re-use most of the code framework, with just some changed wiring. Winning.

In the implementation of S3DataStore(), there’s the opportunity to decouple the Authentication method from the implementation. For the purpose of the example I didn’t bother adding this complexity in, but my original notes in the design highlighted how it might happen. The Java AWS libraries actually make the implementation of such a design very straightforward. (Currently the implementation assumes Anonymous “world read” access.)

Things that happened about the code.

It was fun writing code again. There’s parts of the code that I’d refactor to make neater. A protocol implementation decision about how to pass information in the request queue and some of my test code is kinda bleh and I’d like to fix that in the future.

My choice of code structure (and lack of new Java 1.8 features) is based on history and a lack of writing much code. I didn’t particularly want to use this as a mechanism for learning new coding techniques, and to be frank, there’s nothing complicated enough in here that warrants it.  There’s definitely areas that could be cleaned up, generally where I create local variables for return values. Most of those can be inlined (the compiler is doing this anyway), but it’s handier for me to examine the variables in a debugger when I’m tracing things.

I was also working with Milly Rowett for a significant part of the development. When mentoring, I prefer to keep things obvious, even if it means a little more typing is involved. Milly might be able to provide feedback on how valuable it was – it certainly was easier for me to explain as I typed.

The code structure completely changed when I decided to use maven (to get the AWS dependencies managed) which was pretty painless, but annoying. Not sure I would have done it differently, because I didn’t need maven until half way through. The final structure is fine, but created a change-set which was nothing but structural changes.

The code isn’t really meant to be a demonstration of “great art in writing code” or “faultless”. It was done as an implementation to show how to design code so you can test external dependencies (such as AWS) without relying on mocking libraries or having the code be solely dependent on that implementation.

If you want to download and play – and finish it –

One thought on “Now, Turning to Reason, & Its Just Sweetness (the aftermath)

  1. Pingback: Now, Turning to Reason, & Its Just Sweetness (the code) | That's so stupid that it's not even wrong

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