"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

MBF and WinFS: a False Dichotomy?

Tim Brookins writes more about MBF and WinFS. This pleases me because I want to like MBF and WinFS. But it concerns me because I'm uncomfortable with the direction they're taking. I should say I like the high-level intent to support building domain-driven designs and flexible databases. But...

Wouldn't it be fantastic to finally let users see their Customers and Orders in the shell?
I think these days they want to see them easily from any device, any location. That would mean the Internet browser rather than the Windows shell. Why the shell? That's outdated. I don't even want to see the shell, period.
ISVs really need one combined platform which merges the best of the WinFS and MBF data persistence stories.
Most ISVs are building world-wide web applications these days, aren't they? They need a simple user interface and a flexible database. In tomorrow's mobile world, a flexible database will not have a single location...
While WinFS synchronization is great for keeping your pictures synced across machines, it really isn't going to be viable to build a multi-user business application. So you need the server-side N-Tier capabilities that MBF provides.
This seems to be a false dichotomy. I've seen too many domain-driven systems become prematurely obsolete from built-in dependencies on specific underlying mechanisms. We need objects that can live a dozen years or more. This is demonstrably *not* the way to do so.

MBF should be an arms distance from WinFS, Indigo, Avalon, SQL Server, etc. I've already stated WinFS should be a more flexible database rather than an elaborate file system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Patrick, I'm with you on this one.

Web-cluelessness was one of the failings of the MBF predecessor, IBM's San Francisco Project.

But MBF shares one other failing with SF: based on old business app designs, i.e. MBF appears to be based mostly on Great Plains.

I understand why MSFT went that way for the short term, but they had a much better, simpler and more Web-friendly design in the works from Navision which they dismissed.

- Bob Haugen

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.