re: Event Sourcing: What it is and why it's awesome VIEW POST


If your model fits ES+CQRS then go for it. If your model isn't easily described around mutations then don't do it. You can get a lot of power described above by implementing DDD and CQRS without ES. Load an aggregate, call actions to mutate the aggregate and save. You don't lose consistency, you don't need the extra complexity and you still have a single point to generate projections from. For many small systems, ES is no required.

PS: I've design and built insurance systems using EventStore. Insurance policies do run on events. However, for other systems it would be a complex sledge hammer to crack a nut.


Hi Rob, you've clearly got experience working with EventSourced systems, though I'd disagree about stopping at CQRS. CQRS was conceived as a stepping stone to full ES, rather than a destination in and off itself. In CQRS, you now have two write models, the aggregate state and the events. Leading to the question, which one is the source of truth? How do you ensure that the aggregate state is not out of the date with the event stream and vice-versa? Event in a small system this can get confusing. I prefer embracing full ES on the command side, it's simpler and forces you to think temporally.

You do bring up an excellent point around the complexity of reading events to build projections, for small systems this can be killer. I've implemented a similar version to your suggestion; when new events are stored, you also store the aggregate state. It is treated purely as a read model, the aggregate never loads or uses this model,it just writes to it. This gives you something quick to query and to join on for small projections. It's a best of all worlds approach.


I'm sorry but I don't agree. CQRS, as defined by Martin Fowler (originally by Greg Young but his job now is to sell Event Store, so accept his bias) is a separation of the read and write models, nothing more. You do not have two write models, you have one write (source of truth) and one read. The write model can be document or relational model (whatever fits best). It doesn't need to be an event system at all. There is no event stream to keep "in check with".

When you update the aggregate, you can have synchronous and asynchronous pub/sub that update the read side projections. A command, after all is just an object with the changes. The aggregate then consumes the command however your framework decides. That could be to put it into an event stream, straight into an eventing database, or into the loaded aggregate, which in turn knows how to mutate itself before saving.

There are plenty of .NET libraries that show a perfectly good CQRS system that does not need events. For example Brightr

Link to Fowler:

I see your point now, I made the assumption that we were talking about a CQRS event driven system, as opposed to a CQRS system where the query side reads the aggregate state and then updates itself based on that.

I suppose our point of difference is that I prefer modelling through events rather than structure, whereas you feel this is overkill for simple systems.

For me, even in seemingly simple* systems, events allow me to see the actual process, instead of a structural model that implicitly contains that process. I can still model it in a mutable tree structure, but why bother, when the events do it better and more explicitly?

*Caveat, if the simple system is a supporting domain, then ES and even CQRS are probably overkill, I'm not a fanatic (well, only a little bit) :)

No, sorry, you don't understand. Query loads a projection, which is built from the aggregate. You shouldn't load the whole aggregate to query; if you do it's not really CQRS. You denormalise your whole data model; storing projections to minimise impedance mismatch and to maximise query. Quite often that means rdbms for command side and docdb for query. Your infrastructure updates the projections in the docDb a/synchronously using publisher/subscriber model on the aggregate root.

Secondly, it's not about simplicity, it's about the right data model for the right problem. CQRS+ES is just another tool to fit certain problems. I've seen ridiculously complex calculator APIs written in C that run pretty much in memory, dumping usage stats out to postgres. Highly available and enterprise but not simple and not CQRS worthy either.

Don't fixate on one architecture. If you do, you'll find yourself trying to force everything into that form; even when it doesn't fit.

Commands model the process, not the events. The events are the data as stored. Commands create events. You don't model your domain around events but around commands. If you asked a client to write down user stories to work out your aggregates then your end up with commands first (what they are trying to do) then the events to hold the data comes next. Group commands together and you get aggregates.

How the commands then persist the data isn't important. Whether you hydrate your aggregate through events and handlers or through a document/rdbms load is up to the best fit model. Event Store, for example, assumes that your events are immutable. Fine for some applications but not all.

I hope that makes sense.

Hi Rob, thank you for that. I hadn't thought of modelling a CQRS system like that, it's a really nice solution that solves a lot of problems. There's a lot of food for thought above and I appreciate you taking the time to lay it all out for me, and those reading.

The problem that I have is the statement that events, and I then assume that you mean commands also, are not necessarily immutable. Events happen in past tense. They are by definition immutable. A command is issued, whether or not anything happens because of it is irrelevant. The command was issued. Immutable.

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