JavaScript, React and CCPA / GDPR

JavaScript (and better yet TypeScript) almost seems to have been made for React . . .

It might be the other way around – React must have been designed to leverage the “wackiness” of JavaScript. JavaScript in many ways is the most weird and wonderful programming language out there right now. And React does in the browser what the Microsoft Windows SDK did for the desktop back in the late 80’s.

I am downright elated that the app that I am almost done building has Spring Boot / JPA on the back end and React with Formik and Material-UI on the front end. The React book that I finished weeks ago really helped make me understand that React is ONLY a front end UI library. That’s it. I also learned that I doubt I will ever need React Redux or React Router – since my main goal is building forms based (Formik) desktop internal apps – not customer facing mobile apps. The niche that I am working in is an area where my 38 years of experience fits like a glove. I’ve learned that React is a pretty pure OOP library, and that the only thing really wacky about it is JSX – another “weird but wonderful” invention.

JavaScript has several features that really make it unique and perfect for React. The way it implements Functions, and especially the “spread operator” is a match made in heaven. I learned today why React only lets you propagate down a tree of objects in an app and then “bubble” props and state information back up – but that the intent is that communication is one way – from parent to child. This is odd for someone who is used to being lazy and using some global stack or heap. But I also have learned much better OOP coding standards using React.

React is a pure joy to use and work with. I am now leaving that development effort as far and the UI is concerned – and while my UI design was really great last year – it was very naive – it was my first React app. This year – holy moly – am I WAY more advanced. My search feature in my app just leaves what I designed last year in the dust.

Next week I switch from “front end mode” to working on “gluing” the front end to the back end. We will use a small XHR class (XMLHttpRequest) that simply is triggered by a query event (a REST Get), an Upsert (Insert if it doesn’t already exist and Update if it does – all done on the back end), and finally, one section lets our legal / compliance team delete business rules. Otherwise – Deletes are not done much in my app (we want to preserve history). I’d be more accurate if I said we will do “soft deletes”. Wiring up the front end to the back end seems like it will be the most challenging part – but I’m hoping by basing my app architecture on Formik with Material-UI that all of the complex State and Data Management will be reasonable. I think it will. It wasn’t last year on my first attempt (when I didn’t use Formik).

Every day I read more and more about CCPA, and I keep seeing that large data driven companies have been trying to water the bill down – but that their efforts have fallen flat. CCPA is going to launch a new and very big niche area in IT, and I am right now at the right place and right time for Data Protection and Data Governance. Having been a Database Administrator and Data Engineer / Data Architect all my life – and doing this for 38 years – all I can say is – “Its about time”. The way companies can sling your personal data around is a crime in my book. I say this because I have a Smart Phone that I can use for everything else except the phone! Why? Because my telephone number and other personal information has been sold to so many companies – or otherwise absconded by such – and fancy pants Data Scientists have run their “personalization algorithms” so that they know way too much about me.

The downside for all data driven companies is that they are paying WAY too much for personalization and data – and giving so much of their profits to Cloud Computing Vendors. I’ve written another blog post on that topic – but the ROI for all this “Big Data” nonsense is about the worst I’ve seen in my long and semi illustrious career.

My advice to ALL data driven companies is to see CCPA as a Golden Opportunity to FINALLY get your damned datasphere in order – you have been a pack rat – stuffing data in every nook and cranny – and you don’t NEED all that junk. You are throwing all of your money at AWS and Google Cloud (the real reason their stock is so high), and heck – even second tier Cloud vendors are making a killing. Bite the bullet – clean up your act – and you will save a ton of money.

I recently read an article on how to make better decisions using “small data”. I agree – I have learned that when you study data patterns using just meta data (data that describes your actual data that you process), you can actually learn MORE than by hiring dozens of Data Scientists who comb through mountains of “big data”. Why? Because Data Quality is downright awful in those mountains of data. It’s even worse than that – Data Scientists don’t know the quality of the data or how it’s been changed and transformed – so they make too many uninformed assumptions. Data Scientists who do their own ETL fare the best. Most shops have one Data Engineering team who do the ETL and the Data Scientists then take whatever they can get.

CCPA (and GDPR) very ironically are the best thing to happen to data driven companies in a very long time – certainly since the advent of “Big (pack rat) Data”.

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