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.