Nov 13, 2011

I Really Dislike Anonymous Attacks

If you are interested in NoSQL databases (or maybe not) perhaps you have seen the anonymous "warning" about using MongoDB.   It concludes with the following pious request:

  Please take this warning seriously.

Now there are a lot of great resources about data management on the web but the aforementioned rant is not one of them.  If you plan to write technical articles and have people take them seriously, here are a few tips.
  1. Sign your name.  Readers are more impressed when they see you are not afraid to stand behind your words. 
  2. Explain what problem you were trying to solve.  Otherwise uncharitable readers might think you just started pumping information into a new database without thinking about possible consequences and now want to blame somebody else for your bad decision.  
  3. Explain how you could do better.  Not all designs work out, so propose alternatives.  Readers love to see authors demonstrate that they are not discouraged by adversity.  
As for most of the points made by the anonymous author, all I can say is: well, duh! 

MongoDB behavior with respect to global write locking and transaction durability is obvious from the official documentation.  These features are not my cup of tea, but it's also not as if 10gen is hiding them either.  Moreover, most people understand that new DBMS implementations have problems, not least of all losing data now and then.  You usually pick them because they have features that make it worth putting up with the immaturity.  I am not an expert on MongoDB, but I can say from experience it is amazingly easy to load JSON objects into it.  The up-front usability alone demonstrates excellent engineering.  I am sure for this reason that there are many other good features.  

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