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Modes of Dataflow

At the beginning of this chapter we said that whenever you want to send some data to another process with which you don’t share memory—for example, whenever you want to send data over the network or write it to a file—you need to encode it as a sequence of bytes. We then discussed a variety of different encodings for doing this.

We talked about forward and backward compatibility, which are important for evolv- ability (making change easy by allowing you to upgrade different parts of your system independently, and not having to change everything at once). Compatibility is a relationship between one process that encodes the data, and another process that decodes it.

That’s a fairly abstract idea—there are many ways data can flow from one process to another. Who encodes the data, and who decodes it? In the rest of this chapter we will explore some of the most common ways how data flows between processes:

  • • Via databases (see “Dataflow Through Databases” on page 129)
  • • Via service calls (see “Dataflow Through Services: REST and RPC” on page 131)
  • • Via asynchronous message passing (see “Message-Passing Dataflow” on page 136)
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