Leonard Richardson gave a talk back in 2016 called The Magic Arrow. He shared his experiences building a mobile application for the New York Public Library that allowed the patrons to borrow and read ebooks. He found there were characteristics of architectural designs that made them more extensible and reusable, and he summed them up under the idea of the magic arrow. When we draw architectural diagrams, we draw boxes and connect them with arrows.
I started my long vacation this Wednesday. I’m off until August 2nd and could not be happier. It’s a strange feeling taking time off when you’re self-employed. There are no vacation days. The income goes to zero. You see how much time-off costs you. But it’s worth it. I haven’t done much with my time other than clean and play a 6am round of golf. I’ve tried to stay away from the computer as much as I could.
Getting into Elixir again A few years ago I started a project using Elixir. I loved working with it. But my motivation for the project fell and I moved onto other things. Fast forward to this year. I started the project back up from with a different perspective. This time, I started focusing on analyzing OpenAPI schemas by looking at all the possible variations—what I talked about as schema entropy. I spent a morning writing a prototype in Python and got some interesting results.
I’ve been exploring the topic of schema entropy, the idea that we can understand the complexity of a schema by exploring all possible variations of the schema. The more variations, the higher the schema. The higher the schema, the more complex it is. When evolving an API, it’s helpful to look at how the entropy of schemas change. For example, with request bodies, it’s necessary to increase entropy for each schema change.
We took a mini vacation with another family this week. Our friends rented a cabin on a lake with a pool. We spent all our time swimming, canoeing, and lounging around. I love vacations like that. You get a chance to unplug mentally from it all and do nothing or whatever you want. After our trip, we took the kids to see Garden of the Gods for their first time. It’s a beautiful place.
I’m into a habit of writing these every Saturday when my wife leaves to go to work building bikes. It’s just me and my kids here at home, and they spend the 30 minutes or so I’m upstairs yelling at me that I’m taking too long. I’m OK with it. One day I’ll miss them screaming their frustrations and disappointments at me from the bottom of the stairs. I’ve started spending a lot of time this week stretching to help my lower back.
What if we could combine the power of HTTP with the universal qualities of URLS to create a way to build an API that works like code? It would be a way to turn the web into a programming language of sorts, to treat an API as if it were code. To explain this weird idea, we’ll think about it in terms of calling functions with HTTP calls similar to how you’d call functions in code.
I came across a link to unique website called Special Fish and got lost in the nostalgia of the old web and the creativity of people. I think someone referred to Special Fish as social media site, but I don’t think that captures it. The FAQ says: Special Fish is a directory of profiles. Each profile is composed of a text-based log, lists, and links. It’s a simple site, but it has an interesting community around it.
I’ve had time this week to write more. I wrote a post for Optic titled The Missing Pieces of Design First Workflows. I also wrote a few posts here on this site—I think this is the fourth post of the week. In the last weeknote I mentioned I was considering buying a new chair. I had used my old one for the last 20 years. The padding on the seat and back were all but gone, and there hadn’t been any lumbar support for the last decade.
I mentioned in my latest weeknotes that I’ve started using Rake to automate writing tasks for this site. The first ones were for creating a new post and deploying it. I can now run a command that creates the files and opens my editor for writing. I’ve wanted to add a way to schedule posts. Lots of times, I keep an idea in my head, sit down to write it out, then immediately publish.