Monday, January 30, 2006

E-Trade Goes into the Great Wide Open

I liked this article on E-Trade and its embracing of open source technologies as well as the development methodology behind it. It hits on SOA as well. Its been said before that the companies that can figure out how to make open source work for them and embrace SOA at the same time will be far ahead of the competition.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Will Oracle enter into the open source movement? Oracle partnered up with Sun recently. I wonder if Sun's move to open source the majority of their software had any influence on Oracle. We will see how things shake out this year.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

IBM Proposes Open-Source AJAX Project to Eclipse

IBM continues its impressive support for open source software. The AJAX support is much needed in my opinion and IBM looks to have a number of key players involved.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Will SOA work?

Yes, no and maybe. How's that for a straight forward answer? I qualify the answer because your mileage may vary when trying to move forward with the concept of SOA. Why you ask? We all know there has been a tremendous amount of hype associated with SOA. Vendors trying to rebrand old products, new vendors try to market new products, and industry analyst touting it as the next best thing.

Remember the 90's when OOP (Object Oriented Programming) promised to make software reusable, cut down on development time, save the world etc. There was a lot of talk about abstraction, encapsulation, interfaces etc. What happened? Why aren't all software shops specifically IT shops using OOP design principals? When is the last time you saw a sequence diagram, a class diagram...? The answer as it turns out is that it is hard and it takes time.

So what happened with OOP? Well some (few) IT shops did embrace it and are still using it today. Some IT shops formed special units or groups to handle OOP. They were the elite developers for special projects. Other IT shops tried it and failed horribly.

It turns out the SOA and OOP have a lot in common. Interface design (think of contract, WSDL in Web Services terms), abstraction, encapsulation are all design principals used in both OOP and SOA (specifically service design). There are differences as well between OOP and SOA (loose coupling, coarse grain versus fine grain etc) but I would argue that the discipline required to achieve the touted benefits are the same. In fact I would put forth that SOA is much more difficult because of the scale and scope of the interfaces.

Software vendors tend to understand these concepts better because the majority of the big software vendors use OOP design principals on a regular basis. IT shops on the other hand are a mixed bag. So if you are an IT shop, I would ask this question. How did you react to the OOP song and dance when it arrived back in the 90's? If you don't have a good answer for that, SOA may not be your thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

LCblog | What should an SOA repository look like? | Jan 18th 2006 10:32am

I'm excited about SOA repositories, no really I am, really. Phil states "What's less clear is what a successful SOA repository actually looks like." I would add its pretty unclear what a successful SOA looks like. In fact if you ask ten different people what is SOA, you going to get some interesting answers.

If you are new to SOA, and most of us are, I would suggest concentrating your efforts on writing good services first and understanding what a good service is. I do think repositories are very important and will become more important as services continue to grow within and outside of organizations. But I still think we have a lot to do on the services side first.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Is there an open source community? | Open Source |

I found this article by Dana Blankenhorn over on zdnet. There is also another article by Joe Mckendrick along the same lines. Both articles talk about software as services. The summary is where business and users get software is evolving. One part of this is because of the emphasis on SOA and viewing the world of software and applications as a set of services. The second part of this is the Open source movement.

There are a number of folks now talking about harnessing these two things (SOA and Open Source) to make a business more competitive. Of course harness is the key. Done incorrectly you can increase your cost pretty dramatically. More on this later.

Friday, January 13, 2006

AJAX & Java: Feature Interview with "AJAX in Action" Coauthor Dave Crane @ JAVA DEVELOPER'S JOURNAL

Here is an interview with Dave Crane the author of "AJAX in Action". The interview is good. Dave gives more insight into the AJAX movement and what's going on with frameworks, IDE's and other toolsets. Dave has a way with communication and it shows in the interview as well as his book.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

UDDI: policy enforcer or dead parrot? | Service-Oriented Architecture |

I like the dead parrot reference. So we have already discussed that no one is doing dynamic runtime binding to services or discovery. Most organizations are not going to have multiple services doing the same thing. A clarification here, this is not to say organizations do not duplicate work unintentionally but rather I am talking about writing multiple services doing the same thing on purpose. So for organizations with a small number of services, UDDI probably isn't all that necessary. I'm not saying it would not be useful just not necessary.

Of course as services grow, the ability to manage them diminishes. Something like a UDDI based repository would come in very handy at that point. I'm still not convinced about the other stuff such as SLA management, failover, dynamic discovery etc. It sounds pretty cool but I'm not sure how many companies will really need that. It probably has a bigger role with external service providers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

AJAX moves toward open source | Open Source |

I haven't looked at the products in depth yet but this is potential good news for AJAX. The current crop is not so good, anything that makes it more reasonable is welcome in my book.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

IBM to freeze pension program - Yahoo! News

It always kind of surprises me that IBM seems to slip under the radar of the tech world. Everybody knows IBM and everybody knows they are huge. They contribute an enormous amount to the tech world but its strange how no one ever talks about them. Maybe because they are so big and have been around for so long that everyone kind of takes them for granted. I know the IBM employees don't. IBM's recent announcement to freeze pensions has got them up in arms.

It's really just a sign of the times. Companies (not unique to tech companies) continue to struggle with costs. Whether its pensions, health care, or salaries, the cost pressure in today's business world is immense. Companies are trying everything from offshoring, pension cuts, benefit cuts and layoffs.

SOA, EAI and Open Source can all play a part in helping companies reduce costs. Of course they can also increase costs if done incorrectly. As IT folks, we can make a big difference to the bottom line. The way we purchase/license software, the way we construct applications, the way we manage infrastructure and change can have huge impacts. SOA and Open Source are not just the cool new things, they can how a profound impact. EAI is included in this, it's just not new.

I think for those of us who work in large IT departments struggle with the reality of making these concepts come to life. There are a lot of industry analyst and others who talk about these concepts but few who talk about the practical application of these technologies and architectural styles in the real world. I am hoping to bring more of my experiences in one large IT shop over the course of 2006. No "expert" opinions, just one architect's daily struggle with trying to make this stuff happen.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

BEA and JBoss Blogs Stir SCA Open Source Debate @ JAVA DEVELOPER'S JOURNAL

Competing standards, now how did that happen? At any rate the standards war is likely to be with us a while longer if not always. For an internal IT shop, and this is just my opinion, but I wouldn't worry to much about the standards at this point. There is a lot to be gained from an SOA style approach to application development and wiring. Messaging, abstraction, loose coupling etc have lots of benefits to an organization even in a proprietary format.

If you do that, your services will become more agile, more reusable, more reliable and you will be shielded at least somewhat from vendor change and churn. Standards will come and go. And even with standards there will still be interoperability issues. It's really strange how vendors interpret stuff. If you haven't run into interoperability issues with web services, it's probably time to move beyond "hello world" and the single platform.