the Reg revisits Microsoft's plans

the Reg revisits Microsoft’s plans to have a database at the heart of Windows’ filesystem. readers with sharp minds will recall that they’ve touched on the topic before.

in general, it sounds like the right direction to take — it reminds me of the Newton OS’s “soup” — but there are interesting questions about the underlying technology. David Winer’s notso-hotso for the relational database that’s purported to be at the heart of this thing and suggests a heirarchical, web-like store would a much better idea. [Radio]

I’m a former Newton developer, and the Newton’s “soup” was one of the coolest storage systems I’ve ever used.

On the Newton, everything is stored as a ‘frame’, including NewtonScript code. Each frame conists of any number of named bits of data called ‘slots’, and there can be a _parent and/or _proto slot which define inheritance. In most cases, when you access a slot, if it isn’t present in the frame itself, it will look at the frames referenced by the _parent & _proto slots.

A ‘soup’ basically consists of a collection of frames, which don’t have to contain the same data. Query functions make it very easy to get the data you want from a soup.

The Newton was a fantastic developer’s machine. The development environment was one of the best I’ve ever used, and the NewtonScript language is still one of my favorites. However, the Newton wasn’t as pleasant for users. it was too big, tried to do too much, and always seemed sluggish. Palm devices are generally more useful because they try to do less, but do those few things much better.

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