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The Design Investment

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Sept 29, 2010. It is being re-run as Steve is traveling.

I ran across a bit of a rant from Don Halloran on the lack of design effort being made in many applications and software. He talks about a lack of consistency in databases, confusing column names and datatypes not used correctly. Don laments that "It seems database design doesn't get much respect, and I really don't understand why this is."

We all probably have some idea of why systems get built like this: the designer is ignorant, or lazy, or maybe doesn't pay attention because it's not part of their job. Any reason could fit, but ultimately it comes down to someone taking on a job without making the investment in their own career.

If I were putting tile in my own bathroom, I accept a few mistakes, and I might cut some corners. I might be happy to accept a little fumbling around while cutting tile. I would not, however, put up with that if I were paying someone. I would expect a more professional job. If I decided to change careers and lay tile for a living, I'd also expect to make an investment in my own skills to learn how to do a professional job.

I understand that developers are paid to write code, and that they are more interested in manipulating objects, methods and properties and implementing DR or indexing. If you plan on working with SQL Server, it pays to make the investment in learning how to do it properly. If for not other reason than because you should consider if part of your professional responsibility.

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