pmuellr is Patrick Mueller

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

hot data

Damien Katz, of CouchDB fame, announced today he's accepted a job with IBM, to work full time on CouchDB. For a JSON-lovin', relational-hatin' person like myself, you can imagine my reaction. "Yee Haw!" indeed!!

But when I thought about it today, I realized there's plenty of other non-relational, and sometimes web-related database stuff going on in IBM:

  • Project Zero's ZRM (Zero Resource Model) provides a REST-friendly DB abstraction layer for use in applications built with Project Zero. Though it's built for relational databases, it's one of those new-fangled ORMish things which gives you an API which is bit more 'functional'.

  • Brandon Smith (who's developing ZRM) pointed me at the Impliance research project a month or so ago.

  • Following up on the Impliance work ended up leading me to; notice some of the same names from the Impliance paper. And the JSON; the lovely, lovely, JSON. My heart's a-twitter! Not sure if I can take the new query language; we at least need a structured query facility as well; ie, I'll give you a query expressed as a JSON structure. Early days ...

  • Can't pass up a chance to mention Jazz. The thing that attracted me to Jazz when I went to work on it many moons ago, wasn't the actual 'vertical' market they've carved out for themselves (collaborative development). It was the server. Basically, it's a versionable object database with an HTTP (but not terribly RESTy, yet) front-end. I like to think that it can easily have a life above and beyond mere "collaborative development" tools, if desired. Bill Higgins made a comment on a blog (from, of all people, Brandon Smith :-) , spilling some of those beans.

That's just the stuff I know about. And note only two of those items are actually being developed in the Information Management (IM) tower in IBM (home of DB2); WebSphere is the home of Project Zero, and Rational is the home of Jazz.

So here's a question - why do the database guys get to do all the wild and wacky stuff? Where's the wild and wacky stuff in web-serving frameworks, web-client frameworks, development tools, etc. I'll give programming languages themselves a break here, what with recent interest in Erlang, Scala, and odd-balls like Processing, Factor (ran into both of those again, over the holidays), etc. Comparatively speaking, I feel like we have a wide variety of choices of DBs, ORMs, and languages to use these days, but the other tools in the programmer's toolbox haven't evolved as quickly. AppJet, though very minimalistic, is one of the more interesting "development environments" that I've seen in a while. It's really not hard imagining what that could be on steroids. I'll just let you imagine what my Smalltalk-related comment might be here ...

Next question: when are the Information Management guys going to start working on web servers and development tooling?

BTW, I think I'll pass on Factor; I wrote PostScript programs, back in the day. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Though I am tempted ...