The DRY Principle and Information


In software development, DRY stands for Don’t Repeat Yourself. Conventionally this principle gets implemented by frameworks like ASP.NET MVC and Ruby on Rails by having a single source for column/field names, either the database or a class.

Framework Challenges

The challenge with these systems is to manage the sources. This requires high integration, and makes it very difficult for these frameworks to play with others. They are also very solidly based in a data oriented approach, meaning that they institutionalize hard coded context. With hard coded fields even when there is only one source for each, framework APIs become inflexible.

An Information Based DRY Framework

An information approach would treat each field as something to be processed and characterized rather than just as a field name and a type and other hard coded attributes. Information could provide flexible relationships between fields, flexibly created new fields, and control for the source of the field names, labels, types, and parsers.

Interacting with Another Framework

An endemized English vocabulary could be used to come up with an automatic signature for each of the columns in a database, each of the fields in entity framework, and each of the members of various data classes. These could be glommed. I have an endemized signature vocabulary for about 5000 words already available. Adding synonyms and two word definitions, and including another 1000 very common database column words could push this to 10000. Relationships could be identified from class memberships, operations and stored procedures. In this way an endemized framework could interact with MVC and Ruby on Rails without a lot of code written (once this framework was written).

An API to Anything

A further DRYing of code could happen by making the endemized framework a source. Once the framework above works, then this step becomes simple. And the endemized information framework can be a conduit to the other sources. We can build an API for interacting with the endemized framework giving other systems access to fields and rich metadata about fields in apps and databases. Endemizing provides flexible metadata, so there could also be an API to adapt the generalized framework to specific sources.


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