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From Eric Evans <>
Subject Re: Fixing the data model names
Date Thu, 13 Aug 2009 17:52:40 GMT
On Wed, 2009-08-12 at 15:05 -0700, Ryan King wrote:
> I would like to reiterate, one of our main motivations behind renaming
> the data model is to make it easier for people to get up to speed with
> Cassandra.

This has been repeated several times during this thread. I hope it's not
meant to imply that those opposed do not care about our users, or about
making Cassandra easier to understand.

> Evan and I both had problems understanding the data model and we've
> seen the same struggles over and over as we try and explain the data
> model to other engineers here at twitter. So, after developing this
> proposal for a new naming scheme, we tested it with more engineers, to
> see if it was, in fact, easier to explain. We didn't do a rigorous
> study, but without a doubt it was clearer and easier to understand.
> And these are all people who've read the BigTable and Dynamo papers,
> most of whom have CS (bachelors' or masters') degrees and are
> generally smart.

Yeah, that's anecdotal. I could counter with anecdotal evidence to the
contrary but I don't think it would be very helpful or productive.

I honestly feel like you guys are confounding the concepts, and the
terminology used to describe them. Granted, the right choice of
terminology could certainly make it easier to convey how things work,
but there is a sort of minimum overhead here. In other words, you can
call things whatever you want, it's not going to change how they
actually work. At least some portion of the difficulty people have in
conceptualizing Cassandra, are in fact the concepts themselves.

[ ... ]

> > So having thought it through I think I would have to say I think the
> > current names, if not perfect, are underrated.  Even if making the
> > change were free, and it's obviously not, I would prefer the existing
> > terminology.
> I think, overall, the naming is a significant barrier to entry for new
> cassandra users. This proposal will certainly be expensive, both in
> terms of the work (which we at twitter are willing to do) and the
> disruption. However, we're still early in Cassandra's life and this
> may be our only chance to improve this situation.

For the terminology to be considered a barrier to entry, I think you
need to demonstrate obviously superior terminology.

Eric Evans

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