Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Fear of the Unknown

It is occasionally fascinating to step back, watch myself program, and critique it.

Today's observation is that I am still scared of database programming. I'm *doing* it, mind you, but I don't have that innate comfort with it that I do with nice in-memory OO programming. There's a lingering sense that I'm impersonating a real DB programmer.

This is particularly coming up today because I am realizing that I need to do a slightly nasty database refactoring for CommYou. (Currently, Communities are linked to Persons -- that is, a Person is a Member of a Community. I am realizing that this is just making my life harder: Communities should be linked to the Identity that they are imported from, which would make synchronization vastly easier and more efficient.)

In principle, this is straightforward, and it's the sort of thing I do in ordinary code without even blinking. After all, the IDE protects me from most of the simple errors, and the test harness from the rest. But refactoring the DB is just plain *scary* to me. I understand the process just fine, and can outline the steps I need to take in detail with no difficulty, but I find myself procrastinating about actually *doing* it.

I can give some objective reasons for that. For one, the IDE does *not* protect me from errors in this very well. And while it's very straightforward for me to test new data created after this change, testing the migrated data comprehensively is much harder. It would be easy for subtle bugs to sneak in.

But mostly, I suspect I'm just still a bit intimidated by the prospect, because I haven't done it much. Nothing for it but to press through, make the changes, and convince myself that the world didn't end...
Tags: commyou, programming

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