Archive for March 2013

Databases are for …

Something I read recently reminded me of this.

At one point I was freelancing in New York city. This guy calls me up and wants to see if I can come over and take a look at this pogram “one of his coworkers” wrote. I’m like sure what’s going on with it, well I just want to make sure best practices were followed, we also seem to have some memory problems. Mind you this was early Java days and the program was written in Java. I show up in his office and he takes me to this laptop “the other guys laptop” I looked around but never saw the other guy. The IDE was open and the project loaded, lets take a look. I poked around some, the code seemed ok, the flow was fine.

But then I saw it, and I go hmmmm…. yea, what is it ? do you realize that all the data from the database is loaded into memory, right here. That’s what it’s doing, right ? Yes, that way it’s super fast…. but here is the thing when we have small amount of data the program works fine, but now I have to put it into production and we are using much more data. I tried my best holding a straight face and talking with him about databases and how they are great for querying for data. I left his office and promised to write up some suggestions about the code, how to make it better. I think he gave me a copy of the code to analyze. I wrote a list of 10 or so things and emailed it over to him. Needless to say the first suggestion was about not loading all the data from the database into memory !

A few days later I get an email from him which apperently he sent to everybody that had come over to evaluate the code, 5 or so consultants. He was asking for a short term fix, as the program needed to be demonstrated to management and he was still getting these memory errors when running with the bigger set of data. One of the consultants suggested a solution, increase the memory size for the JVM. It seems to have worked fine as I never got another email from him again, it’s great when you can find resonable fixes to your problems.