Dreaming In Code

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I finally finished reading this book: Dreaming In Code by Scott Rosenberg.

I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in the software development process. It is written in a way that allows easy digestion for anyone, geek or not, yet still engages those of us that are neck deep.

It follows an open source project being developed by a team in San Francisco for 2-3 years.  The project was a personal information management tool which is actually real and can be used: http://chandlerproject.org/. The project was in development around the same time that google was launching its dominating collection of webbased tools that handle the same stuff.

Basically, email, chat, docs and calendar type events... oh and by the way we want everything interchangable and available no matter where you are, AND it's free.

Google pretty much clobbered the market with this, but one thing that is rarely discussed is how all this data is tracked on the back end of things.  Relational databases have been around for quite a while. 

I was introduced to them through Microsofts SQL and the ASP development environment.  Since then most of my work has been with mySQL and python which is what the Chandler project was using.  But using these types of database ideas can be difficult to track data that should be so abstract that it can be anything at anytime.  In the book, the Chandler team uses a silo type analogy for this.  Microsoft was originally planning on doing something similar in the Vista OS.  The idea that your file, the data, can live anywhere on the file system and it will just work.  Even if it is in more than one place.

I was reminded of this concept again today when a link was passed to me.
Tokyo Cabinet


Then the follow up link was:
Google App Engine
"The App Engine datastore is not a relational database. While the datastore interface has many of the same features of traditional databases, the datastore's unique characteristics imply a different way of designing and managing data to take advantage of the ability to scale automatically."
...which brought the whole mind trip full circle.

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This page contains a single entry by published on February 19, 2009 11:13 AM.

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