Endemic simplicity

I was setting up a new website for AutoMapper the other day, and needed to get both a domain name and integration into Heroku, where my site is hosted (for free, by the way). When you host your site with third party application servers, you often need to do work to make sure your DNS records point to the third-party application servers correctly. This ensures that http://automapper.org can be handled by where my Heroku site is hosted, at http://automapper.heroku.com.

Someone on twitter pointed me at dnsimple.com, which made it dead-simple to both register a new domain and add services. Here’s a screenshot for what I had to do to enable Heroku records:


See that “Add” button? That’s it, I click that button, and now my DNS host adds the appropriate records for hosting at Heroku. Wow, that was tough. I have a couple of other sites hosted with Heroku, and their DNS manipulation actually required me to fill out the textual DNS entries. In the above case, I have no idea what the entries are, but dnsimple takes care of it all. As you can see, Heroku is just one of many third-party application hosting providers supported.


Would anyone be surprised that dnsimple is a Rails application? Not me, anymore. The site is small, targeted, simple and intuitive. The corresponding .NET DNS management sites I’ve used are big, complicated, ugly and hard to use.

To me, this stems more from the endemic simplicity in the Rails community than anything else.

Too bad that Rails is only meant for toy apps ;)

About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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  • Thanks Jimmy! This is very timely for me.

  • Jimmy, thanks for the post. I think the “endemic simplicity” you speak of is “small sharp tools” inherited from *NIX philosophy.

    .NET and Java (IMHO) handicap their developers with a steep learning curve (not to mention syntactic baggage) trying to be all things to all people. Look at WCF for example. How many different types of connections can you have? I know Named Pipes is in there someplace (never had to use this and don’t anticipate I ever will). http://visualizationtools.net/default/wcf-service-flavors/

    I think Microsoft could do just find as a tool vendor if it only served up languages instead of frameworks. 

    Some argue that even the BCL is bloated: http://blog.markrendle.net/2011/06/28/how-i-would-like-microsoft-to-distribute-net-v-next/

    Caleb Jenkins reccomended Object Thinking: http://developingux.com/2010/01/17/practice-object-oriented-development/. I never finished the book. It did have a nice little history lesson at the front about things like why Stroustroup poo-pooed SIMULA. In addition to that, it basically says that the language your shop uses is based on philosophical choice.

    I wonder if the C# team and the framework team have a philosophical divide. It seems like there is a divide between the MVC folks and other parts of M$.

    I’ve identified for several years as Alt.NET (you know that band of weirdos who embrace C# but spurn pretty much everything mainstream .NET although a bunch of us prefer MVC to Monorail these days). NHibernate and Windsor forever baby.

    To me it all comes down to “Context is King” and “Right Tool for the Job”.

    With the thread per request baggage (on the web side at least), I’m not sure .NET scales much better than a C implementation of Ruby, but I haven’t run any numbers.

    I think we are stuck in a situation where Microsoft is a household name, and a bunch of us don’t really like what they are selling that much (but the boss does). The HTML & JS on the desktop thing has been done, but it’ll  be interesting to see what they do with it. I have a hard time believing that most desktop client devs won’t stage a full-scale revolt (you know after spending years perfecting WinForms or WPF-fu).

    I think it is worth noting that there was or is some division among the *NIX boys and girls too: http://forums.bsdnexus.com/viewtopic.php?id=705

    I think part of the problem may be that Microsoft doesn’t really seem to be listening lately. What happened to the heroes that saved the “average user” from the terminal?

  • Srdjan

    ditto! I’ve been using SimpleDNS for a while now – it is very simple – specially after using others. but, I never connected the dots, re ruby community… makes sense.
    And, Rob, what are u up to ? Long silence and now setting up sites, ha! Looking forward to see it…

  • Mihai Lazar

    I think it’s the cost of the tools that are used. That is what makes people design big things, rather than making them small – the wish for profit.

    Plus it depends on what the targets are, WCF for instance is a platform for a multitude of communication scenarios. 

    Anyone can design lovely apps even in .NET, especially with FubuMVC, or Nancy, or OpenRasta, or ASP.NET MVC. But since usually there are “architects” at work behind them, they have to make it big.

    • I take extreme offense to that being a .NET Software Architect. My shop builds lean specific web applications that we integrate with contiguous site navigation and a single sign on system that allows a seamless experience.

      Bad architects make bad software, that is in no way respective of architects as a whole. Unfortunately I have met many “architect” level developers that career records 2-3x longer than mine and yet I wouldn’t even hire them for a mid level position in my shop.

  • Kekerain2011