Sunday, June 19, 2016

a web interface to mongo? good or bad idea?

Its a bad idea.

Been exploring mongo db recently. I had experimented with it before briefly. But recently it was more of a quest to get a question answered.

Why build a HTTP interface to MongoDB?

You can scale without the overhead of installing mongo db driver software. It does not sound all that cool, but I guess that it is the only benefit.

Otherwise it isn't a good idea to expose it. Imagine, if that particular client (which talks to your database via http) is given to the end-user; people could potentially corrupt data.

That being said. I still like the former idea. I had recently written an email server in c# that generated enormous amount of logs. Plus, it also had to serially pump data somewhere. I just fancied the idea: why not do it over http?

However, I decided I won't go that road. I still fancy the idea, however, I do feel its not efficient or fast enough. Because you want to minimize the number of operations first hand. If I did it over http, the cycle of operations go like:

  1. Establish socket connection to the target server
  2. Acquire the socket stream
  3. Write data (to send) to stream
  4. Flush the stream
  5. Close the socket
In C# (or any other framework of choice) most of these are abstracted by the libraries I use; hence I don't have to do everything, just I've to ensure I compose the data, and call the http api's correctly. But inevitably those 5 things happen beneath the hood. 

I rather opt for a connection oriented approach. Something in the lines of:
  1. Open socket
  2. Acquire streams
  3. Reuse those streams as many times as needed
  4. Dispose of those streams when done and close the socket.
This eventually means I've to ensure that the driver libraries are bundled properly with my app. But for now that is just the road to go...

I did however, come across a python implementation of a http interface to mongo db (from their website itself). Immediately found out it was broken. And I am a bit disappointed. People say, that when there is no recent commit on a github source repository, it eventually means that that software is obsolete. They are usually right...

However, there is an intent. A curiosity I have to answer. Hence I forked the repo. Hacking up the source to make stuff work. So far I've understood why its broken, and I've taken small steps to fix it too. But that isn't my objective though.

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