[ic] Interchange Mall

Mike Heins mikeh@minivend.com
Fri, 23 Feb 2001 19:50:30 -0500

Quoting Jeff Dafoe (jeffd@evcom.net):
> On Fri, 23 Feb 2001, IC-Admin wrote:
> > Easy, easy, I spoke of glasses not of RTFM. :-)  Your original question
> > was very general, so I thought I give a very general answer.
> 	The original question was not posed by me.  I was expressing
> interest in the issue and felt it worthy of discussion beyond a pointing
> to the FAQ.  I haven't posted any questions about malls, though.
> > http://developer.akopia.com/archive/interchange-users/2000/msg00428.html
> > http://developer.akopia.com/archive/interchange-users/2000/msg07185.html
> > http://developer.akopia.com/archive/interchange-users/2000/msg00530.html
> > http://developer.akopia.com/archive/interchange-users/2000/msg04093.html
> > http://developer.akopia.com/archive/interchange-users/2000/msg06976.html
> 	These items are interesting, I can see that the first step in
> approaching the mall topic would be to find out what the desired
> definition of "mall" is.  My concept of a mall is more in line with what
> was mentioned in
> http://developer.akopia.com/cgi-bin/ic/docfly.html?mv_arg=faq07%2e03 and
> the questions posed by items 3 and 4 are a subset of one of the two major
> issues I anticipate, the other potentially being cross-database searching
> (although I dont think this will be a big issue).

I try to tell people this -- but it is not popular.

The key thing is defining the mall process. Once that is done, the 
actual mechanics of doing the mall are not that hard. For instance,
with searching it is best to build an external index file on a periodic
basis. Not only for the ability to map searches, but for performance.
This is usually a simple custom external script run periodically by

The hard parts are the rules for running the mall, and defining what
you will and will not support. Once you have done that, you have something.
Until you have done it, you have nothing.

I know that some people would say "but that is what *you* are there for!"
(Meaning me and my Red Hat compatriots.) Well, all I know is that if I
defined this for people the next 500 emails I would get would be "well,
that is sort of good but I need to do this or that" or "why did you do
it this way??!!!?". And I wouldn't have any answer.

It is just like shipping except more complicated -- there is no way to
take all of the possibilities into account.  If there were, there would
be a "MallMaster" piece of software that would do it all for you. There
ain't no such beast, and I won't hold my breath for one to appear. 8-)

Sorry, but it is less work to define your business process then tailor
a flexible piece of software to it. Interchange is well suited to that,
as well suited as anything I know. But it won't architect the mall.

Red Hat, Inc., 131 Willow Lane, Floor 2, Oxford, OH  45056
phone +1.513.523.7621 fax 7501 <mheins@redhat.com>

Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing.
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