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Architecture Heuristic YNIA: Participants

Gautier DI FOLCO November 29, 2023 [Software engineering] #architecture #design #heuristics

A while ago, I have introduced YNIA, which is a set of patterns I set up before really need them.

It's not uncommon, when producing software to have to design collaborative spaces.

A good example is the chat.

You can come up with the design of a message like this:

data Message = Message
  { author :: UserId
  , creation :: UTCTime
  , body :: Text
  }

I think it's pretty minimal.

From my experience, stakeholders tend to be creative with collaborations.

A common use-case is when the user left the tool.

If you use RDBMS, you can get in trouble with your queries if you delete the user's entry.

You could use a Maybe UserId, but you'd have to update all user's messages. Doing so would also make all messages from different past user look the same.

You may also come up with these requirements:

That's why I introduce Participant:

data Message = Message
  { author :: ParticipantId
  , creation :: UTCTime
  , body :: Text
  }

Which is linked to:

data Participant
  = Registered DisplayName UserId
  | Anonymous DisplayName Token
  | Deleted UUID

Which gives me the freedom to have a dedicated lifecycle for Participants.