01 November 2010

Beam Me Up, Scotty

Another tidbit from an Artima thread.

Carlos wrote:
Someone wrote an academic paper a few years ago advocating exactly this. They showed that software designed around the idea it may be arbitrarily killed at any time was more reliable, shut down more quickly and had a host of other benefits.

And I responded:
They're called industrial strength database engines. Not trivial to write.

In general, however, the AJAX-ian migration is the attempt to recreate a connected database application, aka VT-100/RS-232/*nix/Oracle. With a phone architecture, we have that. A connected architecture will always outperform a disconnected one, HTTP for example. Managing state goes away, since the datastore always *is* the state. With said datastores on SSD, data control relegated to the server becomes a Good Thing; while the client (phone, pad, whathaveyou) just does painting, input collection, and transfer.

I remain convinced that we're headed back to bound data grids, what was once considered a MicroSoft horror (data must be loosely coupled, and all that).  As well it might be, per se; but the architecture is superior from both a user experience and data integrity point of view.  One fact, one place, one time is fulfilled.  Again, it's only a matter of sufficient bandwidth, and your phone/pad/thingee is just a pixelated VT-100 (and a RS-232 Cat-5 wire) connected to a database.  Once you've reached that point, there's nothing to be gained from retreating.  We only did the web as we did because it started on 56Kb dialup, and that was fast if you could get it (14.4K was not unusual; do any of you actually have experience with BBS's and the nascent web in that circumstance?).  A connected web was not envisioned, thus HTTP and the like.  For better or worse, most folks are always connected, and mostly do trivial stuff with the facility.

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