Monday, May 24, 2010

quick blurb on NoSQL

I've spent about as much time thinking about this as NoSQL developers spend thinking about their schema, but here it is anyway.

At SourceForge I'm presently developing and maintaining a few different systems using all kinds of web tech's and languages - PHP, python, solr, Postgres, MySQL, and mongo. One thing I'm noticing is that the mongo systems are something of a breeze to write, and then a real challenge to maintain - especially debugging. Our mongo experts mostly say that the tooling for mongo is just 'immature.' I'm sure they're right, but that also points toward what I think might be a fundamental difference in the two modes of development.

AFAIK, there aren't any "old" NoSQL systems around? Mongo is only out since 2007, and Cassandra since 2008? We started using mongo early 2009, and even just one year out it feels so much more painful to maintain than our Postgres or MySQL systems that have been around since 1999! My theory is that NoSQL sacrifices maintenance and future development effort for the sake of startup development. I even made a neat drawing:

Initially mongo seems to save on effort until the first valley - initial launch. At this point, the system launches and typically starts interacting with other systems and with users - data requirements change towards reality, which means code - i.e., function and logic - changes, not just model. In our environment, all other systems that use the data must also change their code which seems harder than the originating code. The code and the data are so intermixed that seemingly any and every change in either domain makes knock-on effects that have to be addressed.

In a typical schema data system, we front-load a bit of data modeling effort. After launch, when we get new and changing data requirements we typically address the schema changes that might be involved, and may have to write a data migration/transformation script. But beyond that, it seems we don't have to worry about data integrity or any other knock-on effects. We can change some data-access or model classes and be on our way.

So, am I just an old crusty developer shouting at these NoSQL kids to "get off my lawn!" ? Or has anyone else noticed this too? Maybe it's just the heterogeneous mix of NoSQL + schema that's killing me. Just seems like such a pain for not enough benefit?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a rant about ranting

Disclaimer: this post is totally my own opinion and does not reflect anything from SourceForge at all. that's why it's here on this blog.

I'm angry and want to shoot my mouth off - perfect opportunity for a long-lost blog.

We - i.e., SourceForge are getting some crap for blocking sanctioned countries from our site. That's fine - I'm actually ticked off about it too. And many people out there are making sound and solid comments about the action - not just the ones defending SourceForge; there are some good solid critical comments too.

But then you have people who say something like this:

Sourceforge, you suck! You suck so badly, I’ll hereby guarantee you that I’ll not only recommend *anybody* stay the heck away from you scumbags, I’ll actively let everybody know that you’re the scum of the earth. Shame on you! Shame!

With love from pyalot. Well pyalot, since we're all good to judge and criticize each other, let's get started ...

So you are Florian Bösch. Okay Florian, let's see here ... you've worked at Systor(?), Accenture, and DWS. Systor doesn't seem too keen on open-source?, nor does DWS. Ah, looks like Accenture has some good open source work; but what's this?! It's right alongside Microsoft and Oracle solutions?! OMFG! You are the scum of the earth for working with them! GRARRR!

Or, if I take an extra minute, I find you're actually a stand-up guy and developer and a good contributor to open-source!

Couple lessons here:

  1. we're not anonymous on the internet anymore; I found all of this info on Florian starting from his user page

  2. when we only look at a single facet of any news story or party, we get a very distorted view

I actually sympathize with Florian's sentiments - blocking access from countries goes against the FLOSS ideal. But at the end of the day, SourceForge is a US company under US law. And if we're not law experts we should probably speak our opinion quietly or not at all.