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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