Thursday, October 27, 2005

Game Reset

Fans of NCAA Basketball will understand what I mean by a "Game Reset". For the benefit of those who don’t, let me take a moment to explain: As the game proceeds on into the 2nd half, the last few minutes typically take longer than the rest of the half. This allows the corporate sponsors ample opportunities to remind us which SUV(s) we should have, why Miller Lite tastes better than Bud Lite or vice versa, and why we should refinance our house for the 4th time this year.

Since the networks are sensitive to these breaks, and we have such short attention spans these days, when they come back from commercial, they will typically put up a graphic entitled "Game Reset". This graphic will show the current score, time remaining, number of fouls, and any other relevant statistic (such as 3 players with 4 fouls). It basically allows the viewer to become reacquainted with the game that they left for 60 seconds or less.

I like this concept, as sometimes you’re not always paying 100% attention to the game. More than once I’ve watched my beloved Orangemen dominate their opponent for the 1st half, only to gradually give back the lead in the second. All too often I get overconfident and stop paying attention until I see one of these "Game Resets" and say to myself "how did we lose that 20 point lead!"

So why on earth would I blog about commercials (or adverts for those in the UK) and basketball? Developing an application, particularly in HTML DB, can be compared to a college basketball game. There's an initial sprint to get as far ahead as possible. Once you establish some good progress, you try to regroup, and hope rest of the project goes as smoothly. Often, requirements are changing hourly, features get added and removed and then added back again, and things generally go downhill. Before you know it, you're looking at code in your application that you're not even sure how it got there, let along what it does. Time for a game reset.

I've found it extraordinarily helpful to every now and again stop everything and take a good look at all of the pages and code that I've assembled. More often than not, I'm able to tighten things up considerably, remove obsolete objects, and generally make a better application. With tight deadlines and limited resources, this type of activity is typically on the end of your "to do" list, but I can personally attest that it has helped me tremendously.

One of HTML DB's strengths is that it lets developers rapidly build applications. One of HTML DB's weaknesses is that it lets developers rapidly build applications. This is not a typo! It doesn't take a genius to realize that applications built quickly and "under the gun" are much more susceptible to poor design than those which are built at a more leisurely and regulated pace.

Make sure that you get in the habit of taking an occasional Game Reset to see where your applications stand. You'll be more than happy you did.

7 comments:

Colin said...

Nice Analogy. I did not know that about US Sports.

Getting to your point, I found a good the PL/SQL Coding Standards posting:

http://htmldb.oracle.com/pls/otn/f?p=2853:4:701425360281551592::NO::P4_QA_ID:3262

Maybe we should create/adapt one for HTML DB?

Partha said...

Your comment about the issue with HTMLDB is very true! I sometimes define 2 or 3 page with the same functionality because it is so simple to do so, and keep adding functionality in each one. After a while, am scared on which shared component is being used where, and which page item is being used where, and leave the unrequired page there itself (just in case!!).

This typically happens for a tabular form as it's a slight pain to do it manually (the add row button ,the checkboxes link), and try to use the Wizard. The moment we try to do validations in the wizard generated tabular form, then we see the limitations and go back to the manual one.

Thomas Kyte said...

Scott -- no idea you were so deep :) Very nice analogy indeed (even if I have ever seen "a game reset" myself). I got the point.

Scott said...

Maybe we should create/adapt one for HTML DB?

Colin,

I'm not sure that HTML DB needs its own coding standards, per se. I think that most of what Bryn & Stephen outlined in the link which you referenced hold true when building any PL/SQL applications - HTML DB or otherwise.

Have you seen Sergio Leunissen's HTML DB Best Practices white paper? It has many good points and tips about developing HTML DB applications, and what to do and not do.

Thanks,

- Scott -

Scott said...

Scott -- no idea you were so deep :)

Gotcha! :)

Very nice analogy indeed (even if I have ever seen "a game reset" myself). I got the point.

Anytime you want to catch a college hoops game(s) (they are on all day Saturday from Dec-March), let me know.

- Scott -

Anonymous said...

If your explanation of "game reset" is indeed correct, then all of America's sports broadcasting industry needs to go back to English school.

For years I've struggled with why it's a game reset when nothing's being reset. It's not like the score is tied and both team has equal time outs.

The proper word should be "game recap".

Scott said...

If your explanation of "game reset" is indeed correct, then all of America's sports broadcasting industry needs to go back to English school.

And I suppose that you think Football is played with your feet... :)