On Lowered Expectations:…

On Lowered Expectations: Transactions, Scaling, and Honesty by Jennifer Rullmann.

Jennifer reviews Ted Dunning’s list of what developers should demand from database vendors and then adds one more:

But I think the most important thing that developers need from database vendors is missing: honesty. I spent 30 minutes yesterday on a competitor’s website just trying to figure out if they really do ACID, and after four months in the industry, I know quite a bit more about what to look for than most application developers. It’s ridiculous how hard it is to figure out even the most basic things about the vast majority of databases on the market. I feel really strongly about this, so I’ll say it again:

The number one thing we need from database vendors is honesty.

(emphasis in original)

I am sure there are vendors who invent definitions of “hyperedge” and claim to support Unicode when they really support “tick-Unicode,” that is a Unicode character preceded by a “`.”

Beyond basic honesty, I read Jennifer’s complaint as being about the lack of good documentation for database offerings. A lack that is well known.

I doubt developers are suddenly going to start writing high quality documentation for their software. Or at least after decades of not doing so, it seems unlikely.

But that doesn’t mean we are doomed to bad documentation. What if a database vendor decided to document databases comparable to their own? Not complete, not a developer’s guide but ferreting out and documenting basic information comparable databases.

Like support for ACID.

Would take time to develop the data and credibility, but in the long run, whose product would you trust more?

A vendor whose database capabilities are hidden behind smoke and mirrors or a vendor who is honest about themselves and others?

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