[erlang-questions] rpc is bad? (was Re: facebook chat server)

Ulf Wiger <>
Sat May 24 13:39:33 CEST 2008

2008/5/24 Steve Vinoski <>:
> On 5/23/08, Raoul Duke <> wrote:
>>  Presumably some people manage to mostly get away with using web
>>  services, or WSDL (i know i've been required to set up such a system
>>  in previous jobs) and i guess apparently don't hit some eventual "holy
>>  cow the universe is imploding how did this ever work" kid of
>>  enlightenment moment. Why is that, or when will it happen, or what is
>>  the prerequisite?
> That's an interesting question. The situation is, I think, similar to
> Paul Graham's "Blub Paradox" <http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html>
> where someone using a hypothetical average programming language named
> Blub never even realizes there are better languages to use instead
> because they think only in Blub. If all you know is generating WSDL
> from a heavily-annotated Java class in Eclipse, you might not ever
> consider there are better ways of getting the job done.

This reminds me of many discussions I've had with people about
concurrency models. My impression has been that many projects
set out to implement systems with lots of complex concurrency,
but without the underlying semantics to deal with it. They verify
their concepts using trivial examples (where the nastiness doesn't
surface), and then happily press on, thinking "how difficult can it
get?"). When their universe finally does implode, this is blamed on
all other kinds of issues, but few people are willing to accept the
idea that the underlying semantics of their architecture invariably
led them into a nightmare of complexity explosion that could have
been avoided with a different approach.

With the programming challenge some order of magnitude more
difficult than it should have been, you will of course have tons of
project management difficulties to pin your failure on. ;-)

Ulf W

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