Finally I have written my own blog engine, and I really like the whole site. But there’s one major problem I still have left untouched: administration.
The question is, how should I implement administrative functionality? And honestly, I’m not sure. There’s a few option.
One option is to write an “admin” section of my site, which lists all the entries, comments, tags, and categories, and allows me to perform CRUD operations on each as necessary. A big reason I dislike this option is because it requires a ton of duplication, thus violating DRY. The only way to prevent this is to enforce a strict structure, much like Rails does, but that greatly reduces flexibility, plus it seems like more work than it’s worth. Plus, I would have to add styling to an administration page to make it look presentable, which contradictorily feels both necessary and pointless.
Another option is simply to implement “edit/delete” buttons (or links) right next to each entry directly in the user-facing interface. It’s a bit ugly when the user sees them; however, I could hide them when the user is not authenticated. That would leave the only problem being that certain links/buttons, such as “Create ___” would have no natural placement, and thus would need to be either inserted awkwardly at the top or bottom of any given page, or they could be placed in an Admin page. That would be even weirder than the first option though, since we would have both an Admin page and links littered throughout the actual site.
Either of those options would leave one large problem: the client side and the server side are still required to be separated, even though the act of administration is inherently non-user-facing. Thus, just to get the administration to work in the first place would require much more boilerplate code than I would be willing to put in. In fact, it makes using
heroku console to edit my database seems like a walk in the park.
The final option is to just make a desktop app that performs administration. The idea is that the database would be downloaded in its entirety, modified to a desired end, and then uploaded in its entirety. Styling would thus no long necessary since Cocoa mostly does everything right by default. And even more importantly, all of the logic would be centralized: the “client” and “server” side are combined. Thus, the interface can access and modify the model with practically no ceremony at all. No jQuery scripts, no extra URL routes, nothing.
These reasons make this option my favorite so far. However, it’s not really practical. For example, if I want to write a new entry, during the time between downloading and uploading the database (let’s say it takes 1 minute total), a reader could have posted a comment which would then be overwritten into oblivion when the upload is performed. This might be remedied by fetching data live from the server within the interface, and sending updates to the server upon each modification, both being much like how Tweetie acts when you use it to view a new user or their details, or post a new tweet. However, that still requires that the server-side be fitted to serve/receive each type of information, which is still more ceremony than none, and thus not great, and even possibly a little fragile.
Not to mention, taking the problem to a desktop client suddenly requires more security, in the sense that SSL or something would need to be enforced, or else a big security hole lurks.
Overall, I can’t think of any solution that feels clean and doesn’t make me violate at least some good practices and coding principles. Any feedback on this issue is very welcome :)
My name is Steven Degutis, and I've been writing software professionally for a decade. During that time, I've written many apps and websites, quite a few technical articles, and kept up-to-date with the rapidly evolving software industry.
If you have software needs for web, mobile, or desktop, and are looking for a seasoned software professional, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call.
- Self-employed – present
- Clean Coders – 5 years
- 8th Light – 2 years
- Big Nerd Ranch – 1 year
- Self-employed - 1 year
- Web: full-stack
- iOS (UIKit)
- macOS (Cocoa)
- REST APIs
- AWS / EC2 / ELB
- HTML5 / CSS
Over the past decade, I've written a total of 169 technical articles on various programming languages, frameworks, best practices, and my own projects, as I kept up-to-date and active in the software industry.
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- 2017 — "Clean code" isn't actually clean
- 2017 — Passion in your field is overrated
- 2017 — What I learned in 5 days of writing an experimental website
- 2014 — Age of the Polyglot
- 2013 — How to Program
- 2013 — Ignore the Naysayers
- 2013 — Writing Clearly
- 2012 — Reinvent the wheel
- 2010 — Good usability
- 2009 — Twitter is the wrong tool
- 2009 — We're all pretty bad at driving
- 2008 — Why I Code
|March||Notes on Haskell Extensions|
|February||Second thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||First thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||Some thoughts on GUIs|
|February||First thoughts on OCaml|
|February||First thoughts on Haskell|
|August||Age of the Polyglot|
|August||The history of Mjolnir|
|August||Quitting the GUI wars|
|June||Lua: my new favorite extension language|
|January||My programming life-goals|
|January||Lingua Latina, Pars I|
|January||Allocating an AST on the stack|
|April||Ruby Accessors Considered Pernicious|
|March||Reinvent the wheel|
Here are some of the projects I'm most proud of. They were created using a variety of technologies, running on several different platforms and OSes. They're all finished products, and many of them are open source.
I made Docks in 2009 for users who wanted to swap out icons in their Dock with a single click. Its unique functionality and design aesthetic attracted the attention of Apple, Engadget, MacWorld, and led to an acquisition of my start-up by Big Nerd Ranch.
This toy was made in a weekend to entertain my 1 year old daughter. It lets you create bubbles with your fingers, which then simulate physics by bumping into each other and falling.
When I couldn't find an app in the App Store that let me make very simple lists extremely quickly, I made one myself. I use it almost every day to organize and track my activities.
I created this app to increase my productivity by letting me move windows around in macOS using keyboard shortcuts. It grew into a community-driven highly extensible app, using Lua for its plugin system.
Implementing this elite social network gave me experience integrating both Apple Pay and credit card payments (via Stripe.com) seamlessly into web apps, for a frictionless and pain-free payment experience.
This isn't just any chatroom. In this web app, you can see what everyone is typing while they type it. I made this in order to scratch my itch for making real-time apps and games, and learned how to use WebSockets in the process.
This was written in 2009, before the time of Slack, when IRC was the main way for programmers to get short-term assistance from each other. Its purpose was to be a beautiful app with an emphasis on simplicity and usability over technical power.
This is an app I actually use every single day. It lets you move windows with global keyboard shortcuts. Since it uses Vim-like key bindings, it should feel pretty natural to any programmer. There's no configuration needed; it Just Works™.
As an evolution of Phoenix, Hydra was my first attempt at embedding a full Lua virtual machine into an Objective-C app, to make a lightweight and efficient window manager that focused on speed, low memory usage, low CPU usage, and overall being gentle on laptop batteries.
These may be tiny, but they're interesting technical feats.
|Lua4Swift||Swift framework for embedding Lua with a native Swift API.|
|choose||Command line fuzzy-matching tool for macOS that uses a GUI|
|music||Command line music daemon for macOS that only speaks JSON|
|hecto||Command line text editor with an embedded Lua plugin system|
|ZephSharp||Window manager for Windows using Clojure for scripting|
|management||Minimalist EC2 configuration & deployment tool in Ruby.|
|go.assert||Assertion helper package for writing tests in Go.|
|go.shattr||Go library for printing shell-attributed strings to stdout.|
|OCDSpec2||Objective-C based testing framework with Xcode integration.|