Recurring Revenue Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Xenia von Wedel, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez

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Unfathomable Amazon Web Services

There are some things about Simpledb I just don’t understand. It’s gotten a lot better in recent times, with speeds improving (most important to me) and adding SQL syntax (possibly a wrong move since it’s not much of an rdbms).

What I don’t get are things they do in their API that are apparently compromises for speed and simplicity but just appear to be totally random.

For example?

You can only get rows one by one. This is over a network connection, a fast one (if you are hosted on ec2), but still a network connection subject to latency and other limitations. I get this, kind of - sdb is designed to put the impetus on you for caching.

Then they release queryWithAttributes - now you can query and get multiple rows at a time. Ok, I guess they will help out with caching, thanks Amazon!

But they never release a way to get rows multiple at a time, if you already know the rows ids and don’t query - which is definitely a simpler and easier feature. I might be missing something huge, but this makes no sense to me.

Another example?

Query sorting was introduced to simpledb, which was sorely, desperately needed. Even better, you don’t need to set up ‘keys’ and it’s still fast!

But to sort by a column, you must include the column in your query… Does this make sense at all? Probably to smarter people than me, it’s perfectly obvious that in a stateless n-pronged environment dealing with stackless erlang frames, this is how you must design your apis.

Except why make me write it in my queries? I now have countless queries where I do ‘creationDate’ != ‘foobar’ sort ‘creationDate’ desc. Couldn’t you save me the bits and append this yourself?

Overall weird, but I still like SimpleDb.

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