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Beautiful Architecture

Cover of Beautiful Architecture by Georgios Gousios... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
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Chapter 6. Data Grows Up: The Architecture of the Facebook Platform

Dave Fetterman

 Principles and properties Structures
 Conceptual integrityDependency
Independently changeable Process
Automatic propagationData access
Growth accommodation  
Entropy resistance  

Show me your flowcharts and conceal your tables, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your tables, and I won’t usually need your flowcharts; they’ll be obvious.

Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month


Most current students of computer science interpret that Fred Brooks quote to mean “show me your code and conceal your data structures....” Information architects have a solid understanding that datarather than algorithms sit at the center of most systems. And with the rise of the Web, data that the user produces and consumes motivates the use of information technologies more than ever. Glibly, web users don’t navigate to QuickSort. They visit a storehouse of data.

This data may be universal, like a phone directory; proprietary, like an online store; personal, like a blog; open, like local weather conditions; or tightly guarded, like online bank records. In any case, the user-facing functionality of almost any web presence boils down to delivering an interface to a set of site-specific core data. This information forms the core value of most any website, whether generated by a top-notch research team on staff or contributed by users around the world. Data motivates the product ...

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