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Dave Oliver's Blog Enterprise Technology Thought Leadership in a FTSE 100

Thanks to Grady Booch for point this out.

"A Big Ball of Mud is a haphazardly structured, sprawling, sloppy, duct-tape-and-baling-wire, spaghetti-code jungle. These systems show unmistakable signs of unregulated growth, and repeated, expedient repair. Information is shared promiscuously among distant elements of the system, often to the point where nearly all the important information becomes global or duplicated. The overall structure of the system may never have been well defined. If it was, it may have eroded beyond recognition. Programmers with a shred of architectural sensibility shun these quagmires. Only those who are unconcerned about architecture, and, perhaps, are comfortable with the inertia of the day-to-day chore of patching the holes in these failing dikes, are content to work on such systems."

This quote comes from in Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder's in their paper of the same name here. (One to add to the favourites I would recommend)

This has got to be one of my pet hates about programming, a few years back my good friend Richard Peat nursed this bunch of mission critical spreadsheets (I know 'mission critical' and 'spreadsheet' don't make natural bed-fellows) which drained my will to live when ever I had to do any coding on it. I can laugh about it now (he's says very nervious tick)

What I have done is put up a discussion over at C9 here as I would love to know your experiences and spread the knowledge of how to get out of the 'mud hole' as I like to term it.

Posted on Monday, October 9, 2006 10:51 AM Main , Development Technologies | Back to top


Comments on this post: Anti-Pattern: 'Big Ball of Mug'

# re: Anti-Pattern: 'Big Ball of Mug'
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Good tip, never allow yourself to become the de-facto expert on something like this either!

Seriously, I don't think I have come across anywhere that has not got one of these monsters around. The big problem is that once one has been created, it's too late - most organisations cannot afford the time to pay for someone to unpick the mess.
Left by Richard on Oct 16, 2006 11:13 AM

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