When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · June
· · · · 25 (3 entries)

How We Learn · Here’s the bald truth: the state of the art in In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy is be­ing ad­vanced, first, in re­leas­es of open-source tech­nol­o­gy (which speak loud­er than word­s) and, in­so­far as words go, pri­mar­i­ly in on­line site-to-site con­ver­sa­tion­s. You can watch it hap­pen. Michi Hen­ning hauled our body of knowl­edge one small but im­por­tant step up the end­less moun­tain­side with his The Rise and Fall of CORBA, in the always-excellent ACM Queue. Bruce Eck­el, in Are Web Ser­vices Real? Part II, fo­cus­es on the ob­vi­ous pro­cess par­al­lels be­tween CORBA and WS-* (re­li­able laugh line: “WS-* is be­com­ing CORBA, on­ly with an­gle brack­ets to make it slower”). Fi­nal­ly, Steve Loughran’s On Cor­ba, DCOM, ICE, and dis­tribut­ed ob­jects in gen­er­al re­al­ly goes deep, won­der­ing whether dis­tribut­ed ob­jects are an in­her­ent­ly bro­ken idea. His clos­ing word­s: “REST han­dles it best by freez­ing the set of verbs to a low num­ber, on­ly al­low­ing one way links, but at a price, the price of no easy map­ping be­tween REST re­sources and na­tive class­es, no two-way links and (cur­rent­ly) not very easy APIs. The ques­tion is, when will the En­ter­priseys no­tice that this is the on­ly thing that has been shown to work.” I don’t think the “Enterprisey” ep­i­thet has been a very use­ful ad­di­tion to our dis­course; but aside from that, well, yeah.
 
Not Writing Much · I haven’t been, re­cent­ly, al­though the “needs writ­ing about” queue nev­er stops grow­ing. I’ve got a new daugh­ter, who takes band­width. After I told the world about my Si­grid project at Ja­va One, two dif­fer­ent groups want to try it out, but I de­cid­ed it need­ed one last refac­tor­ing, which takes band­width. Most of all though, that Ruby-community dis­cus­sion around Uni­code turned in­to a mind-bomb for me. I’ve been pro­gram­ming in dy­nam­ic lan­guages for many years, and think­ing about i18n and Uni­code for al­most as long, but it had nev­er oc­curred to me to think about what The Right Way is to com­bine them. Now I’m hav­ing trou­ble think­ing about any­thing else. I’m not ready to write; among oth­er things, there are peo­ple in the Ru­by com­mu­ni­ty who see cer­tain things as ax­iomat­ic that I see as sim­ply wrong and un­sup­port­ed by any ev­i­dence. I don’t think they’re stupid so I need to do more lis­ten­ing. Oh, all these things tak­ing band­width, they’re good things; this is a good time, and summer’s here! I hope you’re en­joy­ing life too.
 
WinFS · Wow, it’s dead. You have to be sad when any­thing goes south that so many peo­ple have worked on so hard for so long. Stil­l, I re­mem­ber be­ing told in the ear­ly Nineties, when I was talk­ing up Unix server­s, that I was sil­ly and wrong be­cause the Cairo ob­ject filesys­tem would make ev­ery­thing else ir­rel­e­van­t. And then years lat­er, when I was sell­ing search and con­tent man­age­ment for a liv­ing, be­ing told once again that we’d all be ca­su­al­ties of the WinFS band­wag­on. I won­der if, in oth­er pro­fes­sions as in ours, the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom is so of­ten so wrong? [Up­date: Lots of thought­ful cov­er­age: The OS Re­view, Devel­op­ing on the Edge, The Fish­bowl, Dare Obasan­jo, Si­mon Phipps.]
 
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