Thursday, June 09, 2005

Registries vs. Repositories

English is such a cruel language.

I can't possibly imagine trying to learn it if it weren't my native tongue.

Like most Americans, I'm quite provincial. I only speak English. Oh, I took French in high school, German in college, and I've visited Rome countless wonderful times, but I only speak English.

I'm spoiled.

America herself is such a big nation in terms of shear geographic size, and English is spoken everywhere coast-to-coast-to-coast, albeit with lots of varying accents. Our Canadian neighbors to the north mostly speak English, eh? What Americans resent most is when immigrants are unwilling to assimilate by learning English, just like all the other immigrants who preceded them did. We, Americans, can travel almost anywhere and mostly English is spoken. Thank you, British Empire.

I'm dumb-founded trying to imagine how any non-native speaker learns that noses run and feet smell, or that you drive your car on a parkway but you park your car in a driveway.

The English language is so incredibly rich, nuanced, dynamic and extensive. We in the IT industry have certainly contributed more than our fair share to incomprehensibility -- we who can "verb" any word.

Below, with an attempt at clarity, is a description that explains the differences between registries and repositories.

Ronald Schmelzer, a senior analyst at ZapLink, recently penned a ZapFlash entitled
'Registries vs. Repositories and
Standards vs. Products
It began with a cute joke.
Question: What's the difference between a bagpipe and an onion?
Answer: No one cries when you chop up a bagpipe.
So, what's the the difference between a registry and a repository?
The dictionary definition of "registry" is a place where official records are kept. A registry is an authoritative store of information that relates to a particular task at hand -- like a gift registry that provides listings of the items a bride and groom desire as gifts, or the Windows registry that stores pointers and configuration information for how the operating system should handle the various resources on your machine. Registries store metadata that relate to assets, without actually containing those assets.

A "repository", like the gold repository in Fort Knox, stores actual assets and controls access to those assets. So, while a registry simply records official information that relates to an asset, the repository actually stores assets themselves.


Anonymous vinnie mrichandani said...

"Two nations separated by a common language" - Churchill about Anglo-US relations...

jolly good post!

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Registry vs Repository...

Hmmm... pretty much a moot point. While there may be some sort of blueprint--typically in one person's head--for an application, once you elevate to the enterprise level where there are hundreds of application, no one really knows what they have.

In my Y2K software inventory wanderings a pattern emerged. A pretty good guess going in was that at least 50% of the stuff in allegedly production libraries was junk.

One of the primary lessons not learned from Y2K was that the software inventories were simply thrown away.

- David

6:14 PM  

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