I came across an interesting and fun project on GitHub a few months back called FizzBuzz Enterprise Edition.  FizzBuzz is supposed to be a simple programming exercise.  FBEE is supposed to be a joke that pokes fun at "enterprise developers" by terribly over-complicating this problem

You Know, Buzz Words

There were places that I worked that used, loved, and worshipped certain tools for no good reason.  Many of these tools had qualities worth loving; but that's not why they were loved.  They were loved for being enterprise. "WTF does that even mean?" some might ask.  Dare not ask this out-loud unless you want a hurricane of buzzwords to come your way.  Most people can't give you much of an answer, myself included.  I will try to define it nonetheless with a story.

I once worked with someone who loved the Spring Framework, specifically its caching framework, which is a wrapper on EHCache.  This person loved, loved, loved it.  They claimed that it made coding much easier and made the app run faster.  It was like fairy dust for Java.  After rooting around their code, I discovered that fairy dust didn't fix stupidity. This individual's code would periodically query the database, build maps from the response, and cache them to prevent further database hits.  The problem was that these maps were never addressed by key -- they were traversed linearly.  It was the worst of two worlds:  a slow building structure that was being queried in a slow way.  You see, the keys were just a concatenated string of several of the values within its respective entry.  No part of the application had enough data to recreate this key.  Ever.  It was an order of magnitude faster to query the database for a specific item than it was to try to search this unsorted heap of shit.

But, it was enterprise, and thus it was unquestionably better.  Also, this seasoned developer didn't know what a hash map was.

Mocking That Mindset

That's what this project is all about.  It mocks people who want enterprise-y things just because its enterprise. It mocks PHBs who throw buzzwords around until someone gets hit in the eye.  It mocks people who abstract for no reason.  It mocks people who think that caches, and in turn, hash maps, are fucking magic.


I did, and so should you!  I had my first pull request accepted some time ago.  In this particular PR, I conquered the Java vendor-lock-in that is System.out.println! Battling vendor and API lock-in is my favorite hobby.  There are plenty of other great tickets, such as getting FBEE to run on a map/reduce framework, WebSphere, and Java 1.4.

But seriously, its a great way to help you calibrate how much abstraction is "just right."  So often, we have people telling us to abstract more and to be more modular.  No one really speaks much to how one should choose their battles or where to stop.  FBEE is a good tool because it reminds you of what's ridiculous and what "too far" looks like.  Take a read through the code and the tickets, and you'll find plenty of golden nuggets.

- bstempi