Bits vs APIS - was Excellent Insight on Standards Development vs Inventi
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 12:30:20 +0000, Sean McGrath <sean.mcgrath@p...> wrote: > > My take is that Atom is about sorting out the "bits on the wire". Sorting out the "bits on the wire" is, to my mind, infinitely better than hiding everything under an API. I don't know much about the RSS/Atom controversies, and regret it every time I get involved, but what Mark Pilgrim says in http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2003/10/15/dive.html about the weblog APIs makes sense to me. The conclusion that they have moved from an XML-RPC orientation "back to a document-centric, REST-inspired service again" would resonate with RESTifarian docheads, I would think :-) > > A lot depends on ones attitude to APIs. Yes. I think the bits on the wire vs APIs permathread has a similar theme to the XSLT vs SQL/XML or XQuery thread a few days ago. Again it's clear that there is a certain group of people, generally docheads, often those who have lived with SGML and friends for at least a decade now, who are very comfortable with thinking of XML as bits on the wire: They have a mindset and elegant set of tools that lets them do what they do quite efficiently and effectively. For better or worse, however, they are out of the mainstream of the current IT industry, where people are *generally* (again, I think by a 10:1 or so margin) more comfortable thinking in terms of abstract data structures, algorithms that operate on them, and APIs that encapsulate this and hide the raw data. For example a quote from Pilgrim's article: "There are XML-RPC libraries for very many programming languages, so you'll never have to see or think about the raw wire format. Until you need to debug it, of course." The downside of encapsulation is definitely that you can't get in and fix it if it goes wrong (sortof like modern automobiles that virtually no 'shade tree mechanic' can fix). The upside is that this creates higher expectations: the big company that wrote the library, or the army of geeks who wrote the open source tool are the ones expected to get it right the first time. There really is room for all in our little ecosystem: Architecture Astronauts who think great thoughts, design high-level interfaces,and write whitepapers are useful to have around to talk to the Gartner Group ... Hard-Rock Bit Miners are useful to have around when things go wrong in the cellars of the ivory tower, but there is a great bulk of people in the middle who just want to get their job done and go home. I'm sure that this list has a disproportionate percentage of people at both ends of the distribution, but at the end of the day its the folks in the middle who pay us.
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