Cynical Spolsky - Why Mesh Might Work

Joel Spolsky has written a rather bitter post about Microsoft's Mesh architecture [Architecture Astronauts take over], and why it is bound for failure.

My 2 recent posts are on topic:

1. In Ideas Are Cheap Right Now, I center on the fact that new social network apps are a dime a dozen.  MySpace has given the regular everyday lay-user an entry point into the social networking world.  In the last few years, I have signed up for, played with, and forgotten about far more networks than I currently use.  Too many accounts, not enough time.

2. Shrinking the 'App Surface' - Microsoft Mesh considers Mesh as a solution to this NEW problem: New networks are built every day, old accounts are forgotten, information is lossy due to the surface of applications we have available to us.  Mesh provides a single space to manage our incoming feeds, as well as update our own feeds.

Why Mesh Might Work
Overwhelming number of online applications to use: Even new models show up every day.  For each new model, there are interest-specific clones built. introduces the model, is a .net-specific vertical representation.  MySpace introduces a new model, represents a cooking-specific vertical, and represents a fishing vertical.

Mesh speaks the language of the Web.  Hailstorm did not:  RSS is passed out like digital candy from every new site that pops up... Hailstorm did use XML, but you still needed to wire it up to your apps (writing service layers or transforms, etc).  With RSS (and SSE, which is based on RSS), the wiring is automatic: you just provide the feed URL. 

Mesh will be free: This, combined with the ubiquity of the RSS protocol means a much lower barrier to entry for regular people.  Hailstorm was not going to be free.

Enterprise integration:  Syndication libraries like the open-source Argotic Framework make it relatively easy to feed-enable just about anything.  (I am keeping WCF and SOA out of the conversation on purpose, as this is more about bridging users to data than data to data).

Regarding Spolsky
I have been a big follower of JoelOnSoftware for many years (I even bought his books), and as I have pointed out in recent posts, I am excited by what he and Jeff Atwood are up to with  I can't imagine those 2 minds not coming up with something new and exciting for us.  I am disappointed in his anti-Microsoft propaganda, which adds unnecessary and negative noise to his good technical and business writing. 

I think that is capable of enabling a strong industry-wide positive feedback loop in the community, regardless of platform, company, or favorite language of their user base.  I would hate to see the effectiveness of the project dampened by Joel's political shenanigans as more CodingHorror readers (primarily Microsoft developers) start paying attention.

Print | posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 10:53 AM


# Interesting Finds: May 2, 2008

left by Jason Haley at 5/2/2008 9:13 AM Gravatar
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