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Sensationalism and PR in the NoSQL World

There are two things that I really really don’t like (nb read: hate): sensationalism and PR-esque content. I strongly believe that both of these are detrimental to the whole NoSQL community.

In the first category, we have the freshly published Computerworld article: “The end of SQL and relational databases?”[1]. While the article is in fact a decent introduction to the history of RDBMS and alternative storage solutions, the title is just plain sensationalist (sometimes called “link baiting” — that’s the only reason I refer to it in the footnotes).

I said it before and I’ll continue to say it: NoSQL is here not to replace SQL or RDBMS but rather to complement existing solutions and augment our toolboxes. Once everyone will understand this and start looking at NoSQL as just another tool that can make our lives easier and more productive, all these completely useless discussions will just vanish away.

Just go back a couple of years and remember when you were reading everywhere that Ruby on Rails is going to kill both the enterprise solutions and PHP. What happened next?

In the second category, we have the MHT article: “Basho maps unstructured road to web scalability”[2]. Now in this case, things are a bit worse as in the second paragraph one can read:

Basho Technologies Inc. believes 2010 will be the year NoSQL — a catch-all term for developers who reject the popular open-source database architecture MySQL — becomes widespread on the web.

I’m pretty sure that’s not what Basho believes, but someone that has pretty much no idea what he/she is writing about. Unfortunately the few interesting things (f.e. who are Basho’s clients, what are they using Riak for) just get lost behind buzzwords and stupid sentences as the one above.

I thought I should end this post with a challenge to everyone involved in a way or another in the NoSQL world:

  1. Educate your PR.

    Review everything they are pushing out until you trust them to do it the right way.

  2. Stop publishing sensationalist content.

    It will probably get you some clicks here and there, and will catch the eyes of some clueless business people. But you’ll loose customers due to the useless and meaningless flamewars!

Update: This post generated some negative reactions after it got posted, mostly centered around the following two points:

  • the article implies that the second article is written by Basho’s PR
  • the article focuses on the negative parts instead of emphasizing the good ones

So, I thought I should provide further details. There is no mention that the 2nd link was published or written by Basho’s PR. I have carefully used the world PR only in title and PResque in the first paragraph. But to clarify this even further: the article does not imply that Basho’s PR is the writer and/or the publisher of the referenced piece.

As regards the second point: even if I signal or not the bad parts of an article they will still be there. I would even argue that once these are clarified, readers will be able to focus on the rest of the article and enjoy the interesting parts.

Oh, and by the way, my challenge still stands!