Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Types of microservices

I've started to post a few things over on the new Red Hat Developer Blog. My first entry was about microservices.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

You keep using that word (REST) and I don't think it means what you think it does

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... OK, not quite. But some time ago our industry spent a lot of time and effort on discussion the pros and cons of REST, SOA, SOAP (!) etc. I even had a few things to say on the subject myself. To misquote Jeff Wayne, "minds immeasurably superior to my own" on the topic of REST and HTTP at the time had a lot more to say and do in this area. It's something which is easily Googled these days. Covered in books too. Probably even several video master classes on the topic of REST and HTTP, let alone their relevance to SOA. And yet it seems that some people either have a very short memory, didn't understand what was said, or perhaps didn't do their homework?

I'm specifically talking about how REST plays into the recent microservices wave. Yes, I think there are some problem areas with microservices and yes, one of them is the dogmatic assertion by some that REST (they tend to really mean HTTP) is mandatory. I don't believe that. I do believe that different message exchange patterns may be suitable for a range of microservices and to limit ourselves to just one (HTTP) does not make sense.

Oh and yes, it still frustrates me to this day when people talk about REST and they're really talking about HTTP - my only consolation here is that if I find it frustrating it must really annoy the h*ll out of the RESTafarians! Not all REST is HTTP and likewise not everything which uses HTTP is necessarily REST. Simple, huh? Well you'd think ...

Anyway, putting that aside, what's got me more frustrated recently is that some people are suggesting that REST (really HTTP) can't do async for microservices and therefore can prevent you breaking apart your monolith. I'm not even going to attempt to explain in detail here how that is wrong except to suggest that a) those people should go and read some InfoQ articles from the early 2000's (yes, even theserverside had things to say on the topic), b) do a Google search, c) read something from my friend/colleague Jim WebberSavas and others on the topic of REST (and maybe Restbucks - hint, hint), d) in case they're confused between REST and HTTP, maybe go and read the HTTP response codes and look at those in the early 200's range (again, another hint). As I said above, I'm not suggesting there aren't some issues with REST/HTTP for microservices. And as I've also said over the last decade or so, maybe there are some issues with building some types of distributed systems with REST/HTTP. But this isn't one of them!


And this then brings me to a related topic. And if he hadn't been saying it around REST, I'm pretty sure Inigo Montoya would've been saying "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" about "asynchronous". Yes, some of the authors try to make the distinction between a blocking call within a single address space and a one way interaction with a service across the network, but that really doesn't instil me with confidence that they know what they're talking about. If they threw in a bit of Fischer, Lynch and Patterson, rather than the oft overused reference to CAP, then maybe I'd be slightly less concerned. But that'd require some homework again, which they don't appear to want to do! Oh well, good luck to those who follow them!

Note, I have deliberately not included many links to things in the post in the hopes it will encourage the reader to follow up.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


I'm not even sure it's a word, but I wrote something on micromonoliths elsewhere - basically just some words on architecture.

Some cross postings on microservices

As I mentioned earlier, I've had some time on holiday recently and spent some time musing on microservices amongst other things. I've written a couple of articles over on my blog, one on microservices and co-location, and one about the mad rush to make everything a microservice. As Rod Serling often said: submitted for your approval.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Poor scientific method

One of the nice things about being on holiday is that the mind can wander down paths that might otherwise not be trodden, particularly because to do so typically needs more available time. This holiday I spent some of that time pondering microservices, amongst other things. As I've mentioned and been quoted elsewhere, I'm not against the fundamental concepts behind microservices architectures (MSA) - I see them as embodying an evolution of services-based architectures which we've seen happening over several decades. And yet I have a few concerns or niggles about the way in which some groups are positioning it as so significantly different that it represents a fundamental new approach or wave.

It wasn't until I read the recent NIST document that I managed to put my finger on at least one of these concerns: they're making data fit their own definitions of SOA and MSA, whilst conveniently ignoring those facts which don't fit. Any good scientist knows that goes against scientific method, whereby we come up with a theory based upon all of the available data and that theory lasts until some new data appears which blows a hole in it (yes, I'm paraphrasing). The NIST document is particularly guilty of this by choosing a definition of SOA which is conveniently at odds with their definition of MSA - it's not even the one that the standards, such as the OASIS SOA Reference Model, define! The table they have to compare and contrast is so badly flawed - go read the SOA-RM and look at the NIST MSA definition to see how close SOA and MSA are!

Look, I'm not suggesting there's nothing different in MSA than what we've been doing in the past with service oriented architectures. But let's please be objective, stick to the facts and define theories or models based upon all of the available data. Then also be prepared to change if new data appears. But please don't select data to match your own preconceived notions. In our more fully connected world there's really no excuse for being selective of the available data or ignorant of what is available!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Holiday thoughts ...

I just got back from a week of holidaying with family in Tenerife. We did lots of great things together, such as whale watching, snorkeling, visiting the local volcano (great mountain roads with barely enough space for one car let alone two lanes!) and generally soaking up the sunshine! It also gave me an opportunity to catch up on some articles and work related videos I'd been saving up on for a while, which resulted in me also being able to write down some of my own thoughts on a few related areas. I'm taking a bit of a down-day today before back to work tomorrow so it may take me a few days to upload the entries here or to my account.