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architects,opinion,enterprise-integration,humor,open source,integration,zeromq

The ZeroMQ Docs Are Actually Pretty Funny

If you've read the ZeroMQ docs before, you probably noticed a few pockets of good old-fashioned corny nerd humor.  It seems that the authors had a little fun when creating the docs as you see in this first diagram explaining the ZeroMQ origin story:

A ØMQ socket is what you get when you take a normal TCP socket, inject it with a mix of radioactive isotopes stolen from a secret Soviet atomic research project, bombard it with 1950-era cosmic rays, and put it into the hands of a drug-addled comic book author with a badly-disguised fetish for bulging muscles clad in spandex

-- An Introduction to ØMQ

While there's not a giggle-worthy quip on every page, I think you'll find some of the best material on the advice page for giving a 10-minute talk on ZeroMQ (which is an invaluable marketing boost IMO, and I don't know why every open source project doesn't do this):

First, don't try to explain 0MQ. You can't. You might as well try to explain crusty French bread to prehistoric hunters.

-- ZeroMQ: The Ten Minute Talk

And here's two of their nine suggested "hooks" for the talk:

  • 0MQ is this magic star stuff that will let you connect thousands of pieces together, cheaply. In detail, because it's free, portable to any OS, and language, and gives you a simple scalable model for connectivity, based on the socket paradigm. The key here is cost: commodity hardware and OSes, common languages, no license fees, scale on demand.

  • 0MQ is actually a box of magic pixies. In detail, imagine ultrafast servers you can embed in your app, and talk to over a simple socket-like API. These servers interconnect in magic, perfect ways, like pubsub, request-reply, pipeline. They run so fast it's insane, and they scale out over all the cores and boxes you can throw at them. We call them "sockets" but really, they're magical pixies from Mars. Approximately. This is the hardest hook but can work if your audience knows messaging already.
-- ZeroMQ: The Ten Minute Talk

I know everyone won't love the lack of seriousness as much as I do, but this does a good job at getting people's attention regardless.  A marketer could learn so much from this one page.  Goodness...

Update:  I just found out that ZeroMQ also contains meme-reference commands like ICANHAZ, CHEESEBURGER, NOM and HUGZ.

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