01 January 2012

Back to the Future

As those who've been following this adventure since the beginning must know, one part of the journey down The Yellow Brick Road involves the nature of application execution. I've been saying for many years, since long before I ever put fingers to blog, that the inevitable result of "progress" in application design is to replicate, albeit with pretty pixels, the world of *nix databases and the VT-100. The reason is simple: this paradigm provides the greatest control with the greatest ease of use.

The continuing problem with actually getting there is the disconnected nature of http. "Server push", as it's often called, hasn't been functional. So, imagine my surprise to see this Eckel post on Artima. Here's the Wikipedia entry, too. The upshot of WebSocket is a terminal on a long wire to the database. The winners in this world will be those who recognize that the high normal form database, with small bits of data per UI screen, will be the winners. This paradigm supports centrally edited data, to any screen. In other words, client agnostic.

In due time, perhaps with my consulting advice, organizations will realize what WebSocket means. There's that old joke: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." "Don't do that." The easiest approach to dealing with Big Data is to not build stupid flatfile datastores. *nix databases, of high normal form, on multi-core SSD machines allow data to be sent to clients in whatever form needed. Smaller is better, of course, but massive joined rows can be sent. Not that one would want to, of course.

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