Why a Vendor is Really Adding JavaScript/JSON Support

I attended Dataversity’s NoSQL Now! Conference last week, and among the many vendors I spoke with, one story caught my interest. This vendor (who alas must remain nameless) is a leader in the NoSQL database market, specializing in particular on supporting XML as a native file type.

In their upcoming release, however, they’re adding JavaScript support – native JSON as well as Server-Side JavaScript as a language for writing procedures. And while the addition of JavaScript/JSON may be newsworthy in itself, the interesting story here is why they decided to add such support to their database.

True, JavaScript/JSON support is a core feature of competing databases like MongoDB. And yes, customers are asking for this capability. But they don’t want JavaScript support because they think it will solve any business problems better than the XML support the database already offers.

The real reason they’re adding JavaScript support is because developers are demanding it – because they want JSON on their resumes, and because JSON is cool, whereas XML isn’t. So for the people actually responsible for buying database technology, they’re asking for JSON support as a recruitment and retention tool.

Will adding JavaScript/JSON support make their database more adept at solving real business problems? Perhaps. But if developers will bolt if your database isn’t cool, then coolness suddenly becomes your business driver, for better or worse. One can only wonder: how many other software features are simply the result of the developer coolness factor, independent of any other value to the businesses footing the bill?

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