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   Re: [xml-dev] RSS beyond the Blog: 1992 or 1999? - was Re: [xml-dev] hu

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On Mar 18, 2004, at 5:03 PM, Joshua Allen wrote:

> Honestly, the talk about "*real* pub-sub network" reminds me of the
> people in the early days of the Web who argued for a "*real* hypertext
> network".  There were lots of *real* hypertext systems before the web,
> and plenty since, but the web is vastly superior.

I think it's very important to keep this in mind during this type of 
discussion -- it may be that Metcalfe's Law will trump all the 
arguments against RSS+polling+Aggregators as a universal pub-sub 
network.  I wouldn't be astonished if that happened, given the success 
of the Web and all the other technologies whose ability to hit the 
80:20 point outweighed their technical limitations.

BUT it's important to remember that "real" pub-sub systems, AKA 
message-oriented middleware, are pervasive in enterprise computing 
today.  The enterprise infrastructure accommodated the Web fairly 
gracefully because in-bound requests could be directed via CGI, etc. to 
legacy systems to generate responses.  After all, everyone understands 
request-response.  I'm not sure sure that the Web will prove to be a 
good fit for out-bound notifications of the sort that Tim is talking 
about, because it doesn't (natively) have  something that the MOM 
pub-sub and store-forward systems can map onto, besides email.  In this 
case, the Web may well have to adapt to the enterprise rather than 

It's very tempting to think of the Web as "vastly superior" to those 
crufty old enterprise systems.  Having been around dinosaur wranglers 
for a few years now, I'm not so sure:  those mainframes and MOM systems 
are not going anywhere because they *work* -- 24/7/365, worldwide, in 
the face of all sorts of hardware and communications failures, years 
and years after the outside world stopped paying them any attention.  
It only took one "but, why don't you just use HTTP?" pratfall at a 
mainframe shop for me to learn that lesson :-)  I recommend keeping a  
*very* open mind on this subject, because both the mainframe/MOM 
architecture and the Web architecture have proven themselves very 
robust in practice.  It's not at all clear who can learn most from whom 
when they come together, and in Tim's "syndicate account updates to 
consumers over the Web" scenario, they definitely come together.


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