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What is the structure and meaning of 'having a just a few' in this paragraph?

The major shift here is that we treat both entities and users groups as very cheap resources. Instead of having a just a few and structuring around them, we define what we want and then structure the groups around them. The burden them moves from complex code to maintaining the structure. I find this a very reasonable tradeoff for a simple security model and the flexibility that it gives me.

This paragraph is extracted from a blog post.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'd have to say that's a typographical error; the first "a" is out of place and the phrase doesn't make sense in that sentence (nor would it anywhere that I can think of). I think the author probably meant to say this (my emphasis on some of the phrases):

The major shift here is that we treat both Entities and Users Groups as very cheap resources. Instead of having just a few [of them] and structuring around them, we define what we want ...

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Thanks for your answer. I guessed it the same as yours. But I am not sure. –  Liu Aug 23 '11 at 7:13
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@Liu You're welcome. I see several other typos in that article as well, so I definitely think this is just a mistake. –  jtbandes Aug 23 '11 at 7:14

The problem here is that the phrase "just a few" doesn't clearly refer to anything. Does it mean "just a few entities", or "just a few users groups", or "just a few resources", or something else entirely? Given that the second sentence says "structure the groups around them", I'm inclined to think that the intended meaning is "just a few resources". With that in mind, and not knowing any other context, I'd probably rewrite the paragraph as follows:

If we treat both entities and users groups as very cheap resources, we can then define the resources we want and structure our groups around those resources. The burden then moves from complex code to structure maintenance. I find this a very reasonable tradeoff for a simple security model and the flexibility that it gives me.

I hope this helps a little.

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I think the problem is that the a typing mistake confused me, the ' a just a few'. Sorry for my poor English, and your analysis is wonderful. –  Liu Aug 26 '11 at 6:12

The major shift here is that we treat both entities and users groups as very cheap resources instead of having a just a few, and structuring around them, we define what we want and then structure the groups around them. The burden them moves from complex code to maintaining the structure. I find this a very reasonable tradeoff for a simple security model and the flexibility that it gives me.

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Thanks for your answer! –  Liu Aug 23 '11 at 9:06
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@Liu I'm afraid I don't see how this would be helpful; it doesn't really answer the question. –  simchona Aug 23 '11 at 9:28
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What on Earth is this answer supposed to be and why was it upvoted? –  Jez Aug 23 '11 at 10:04
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I am grateful to everyone who give attention to my questions! –  Liu Aug 26 '11 at 6:00

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