CS848 – Heuristics of Enough

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I found something in the XML schema that appeared to make it possible to configure how many times a message can be unsuccessfully sent before it will be discarded*. But it was taking time to actually get the setting set to test it out and make sure it works like it appears. So… here’s a recurring question that comes up for me when I’m doing new things:

How much research is enough?

There is danger on both sides. The cost of researching this now if it works like it appearsis is that it is taking time away from other research I need to get to and could make my schedule slip. But the potential cost of not researching it now if there’s not a good answer is invalidation of our messaging approach, which we would definitely want to know about now rather than wait.

The Current Example is Getting Easier To Assess…

In this case, the fact that there is a concept of a dead letter queue for messages to go into once they’ve reached their maximum redeliveries makes me feel confident enough that there is a solution that I think it will be best to move on to my next research topic (I’ll run that by my lead).

…But in General…

In general, though, you’re making an educated guess about the unknown. I imagine a graduate-level class titled “Heuristics of Enough” teaching how to weigh such risks and make good decisions. In reality though, I think this comes by experience.

Must it come by personal experience though? I bet well-written case studies of different situations would be helpful for others to learn from…

*And actually by now I realize (thanks to a question posted to a mailing list) that they’re only being discarded because I didn’t set up a dead letter queue for them to go into…

Update: Huh – they’re not being discarded at all… there’s an ActiveMQ.DLQ (Dead Letter Queue, get it? :) queue that has 16 messages in it.  When I thought the messages were being discarded, they were being put in there.

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