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Five papers on networked systems

Mark Nottingham has recommended 5 protocol design papers *. Excellent idea. Mark's looking for others. I don't know of five other papers remotely as good as that lot on protocol design. But here's five I really like, all touching on the design of protocol aware systems, with a slant on the effects of the design on implementation and administration:

  • Making Web Services that Work [pdf], Steve Loughran (weblog). Essential for anyone building a service that runs the risk of actually being used. Plenty of war stories, minimal handwaving.
  • The Protocol versus Document Points of View, Donald Eastlake III. A wider audience could lead to the end of a number of permathreads in the XML world.
  • Web Search for a Planet [pdf], Barroso, Dean and Holze. This is a recent paper but will be around for a long time to come, for its cluster design and especially for its remarkable cost-benefit analysis of server infrastructure.
  • Javaspaces Service Specification [pdf]. This is an unusual beast, in that it defines a protocol (Linda) in terms of an object oriented language (Java). Elegant.
  • On Distributed Communications, Paul Baran. This is to protocols and distributed systems as Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" is to hypertext and the web. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2004.

* Of the five, I hadn't read the WebDAV paper before, but they're all stand out reads. Mark mentions Marshall Rose's "On the Design of Application Protocols", which is a personal favourite - for anyone from a document, relational or OO background that has come to webservices or SOA, it's the best intro to the protocol oriented point of view (Rose's book on Beep is also very good).

April 17, 2004 08:29 PM


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