Daily Archives: 2003/02/02

Bosworth; The Next Inflection Point

Edwin Khodabakchian reports on an Adam Bosworth presention entitled The Next Inflection Point.

Adam’s an extremely bright guy, and I’m fully expecting him to have a “REST epiphany” ahead of most others due to both the depth and bredth of his experiences. But while this is an extremely interesting presentation, there are some claims that just don’t synch up with the current approach taken with Web services. In particular, there’s this quote which Edwin pointed out;

We will look back in wonder and ask how we ever survived in the current anarchy where information did not flow as seamlessly and as metered and managed a manner between programs as electricity flows between devices today.

Whether or not you agree that Web services are the next big thing, I would expect that most people would see the problems in this statement; data flow with Web services is anything but seamless.

“Seamless data flow” derives from a data flow architectural style in which components expose a common (no, not necessarily uniform 8-) interface. The example I’ve used before is pipe-and-filter, ala Unix, with stdout/stdin. Non-common (i.e. component-specific) interfaces are notoriously difficult to compose, and therefore anything but seamless, because new glue code has to be written for each set of components that need to be composed (the old integration-complexity argument, O(N^2) or O(NlogN) for Web services vs. O(N) for the Web).

So I’m all for seamless data flow, but Web services simply don’t have it.

Simon St. Laurent on Civility and Alienation

Simon responds to my comment about ERH’s message;

Does that alienate people? Yes! It should. I’d love to get the Web Services folks to rethink their foundations. Failing that, making clear that there are serious points of friction seems like the best course of action – and being civil has little to contribute to that. Forking is not a risk here – it’s an opportunity.

We’re in complete agreement about that. Where we may differ, is about the timing; I think the time for alienation has passed. I’ve personally been doing it for over three years now, and have alienated my fair share of bright and well respected people (which has come back to haunt me during my search for work, sigh .. but such is the price of grokking this stuff). I believe the time is right – or at least fast approaching – to take advantage of the increasing frustration being felt by some Web services developers who have realized that there may be something to this other way of doing things that they’ve heard about.

But, I could be wrong, which would be fine by me; it’s a lot less work to alienate. 8-)