I'm in the UK this week to take part in an IBM Business Partner technical meeting on CICS and WebSphere Business Integration and internal meetings. Originally I was just scheduled to come over next weekend to participate in a J2EE vs .Net panel at The Triple i Convention, but I extended it a week to spend the time with some of IBM's partners and the local IBM software leadership at the Hursley Labs near Winchester. We've got a lot going on now and all sorts of plans for next year and beyond, so it's good to get some facetime.
I flew out yesterday via Chicago and, since it was September 11, I had no idea what to expect in terms of how busy the airports or how full the planes would be. My first flight into Chicago was at perhaps one-third capacity, but the flight to London was completely full. I suppose this is good news, but it's still a bit eerie flying on that tragic anniversary.
I'm still debating with myself about whether I should do a book on SOA and Web services slanted towards managers and executives. That is, no XML angle brackets, but enough about the business and technology to make people dangerous, or at least able to make good business decisions about how and when they should use the technologies. It's clear it would have to be a weekend and holiday activity. Maybe when the cold of winter sets in I can look at it seriously.
I've co-authored two books in the past in my previous mathematical/internet publishing life: Axiom: The Scientific Computation System, which seems to be out of print, but describes what is historically a very significant programming language and symbolic computational environment; and The Latex Web Companion: Integrating Tex, Html and Xml. I co-wrote the first with the recently departed and dearly missed Richard Jenks and I wrote a chapter about techexplorer (now owned by Integre) in the second.[Read More]
Open standards, open source, open minds, open opportunities
sutor 120000G8AG 200 Visits
sutor 120000G8AG 230 Visits
sutor 120000G8AG 383 Visits
I promised earlier that I would talk about the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) idea and have already pointed to a Forrester research article on the topic. In this entry I want to list what IBM considers the eight primary defining concepts of an ESB. Note the following are not my personal work but rather that of the IBM Enterprise Messaging team. I will, however, return to these in future posts to add details and examples. In no particular priority order ...
As I said above, I'll flesh these out in future entries. In the meanwhile, you might want to take a look at how the notion of an ESB fits into your integration solution today. In the meanwhile, you should keep repeating to yourself "An ESB is not a single product, an ESB is not a single product, ...".[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 228 Visits
I just got a newsletter from IBM alphaWorks that noted that two of their top downloaded demos are in the Web services area. From the text they sent me ...
Emerging Technologies Toolkit
The ETTK is a software development kit for designing, developing, and executing emerging autonomic and Web service technologies. It provides an environment in which to run emerging technology examples that showcase recently announced specifications and prototypes from IBM's research and development teams.
Web Services for Life Sciences
This package is a collection of examples of Web services for life sciences. It includes examples for PubMed, GenBank, BLAST, Phylogenic Tree, ClustalW and other Life Sciences Demos.[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 224 Visits
There is an interesting article over at ZDNet by David Berlind - "Sun's Schwartz living a Linux nightmare". I'll admit to not really understanding Sun's open source strategy around Solaris and how it relates to Linux. This doesn't mean I haven't tried to understand it ...
I do know that when there was all the public discussion about open sourcing Java a few months ago, Sun decided to come out and talk about open sourcing Solaris (again). By some accounts, they've been talking about this for several years. Nevertheless, I couldn't avoid thinking they were trying to change the subject.[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 211 Visits
If you are in London at the end of September and are attending the XML & Web Services 2004 conference, please stop by on the afternoon of September 29 and say hello. I'll be giving a talk called "Implementing Web Services" and will be highlighting various IBM technologies that you can use to build and deploy Web Services both within and between enterprises.
I want to put in a plug for one of my colleagues, Mark Colan. Mark is IBM's premier evangelist for Web services and SOA. Each year he travels tens if not hundreds of thousands of miles to talk about the latest standards and how we are implementing them. Many of his latest talks are online, so check those out. If you ever see that he is appearing at a conference, I encourage you to attend his talk. Some of his recent talks include "SOA and Web Services: Where we are, where we're going", "SOA and Web Services for Architects and Developers", and "Web Services Security - How WS-Security builds upon existing security technology".
sutor 120000G8AG 177 Visits
Computer Business Review - UK did a short article based on my What is JavaOne? entry from a few days ago.
IBM was a Gold Sponsor of Java One this year and we had a big booth right near the entrance of the exhibit hall. We did not have a keynote because we were not a Platinum Sponsor. Rod Smith and I did participate in panels with other industry executives, and we also had several technical talks based on papers we submitted. So this year I think we were pretty high profile.[Read More]
Although today is Monday, it is part of the US Labor Day weekend and thus I think it's ok to talk about the fence I am building in my side yard. For the amount of intellectual energy I've put into this, you would think it extended the full width of my property. As it is, I planned the total length to be 21 feet long.
Our house was built in 1820 and on one of the main roads of the village. Back then they put houses fairly close to the roads, especially in northern climates where snow plows were not quite as efficient as they are now. Today our road is larger yet, and in the summer the sight of cars can be distracting when you are hanging out in the back yard. On the left side of the house (facing the front) we have a porch that was rebuilt earlier this year. Behind that is a stone wall running out orthogonally from the house, and nestled between the stone wall and the house there is a perennial garden. So standing in the backyard looking toward the street you see garden, wall, porch on left, and then cars buzzing by on the street. The distance from the porch to the end of the stone wall is about twenty feet.
Inspired in part by P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, I wanted to do something at the top of the wall to block the view of the street. That would give us more privacy in the garden and allow me to better landscape the now more contained space. A complicating factor was that if I built a fence, it would have to connect to the porch, and so architecturally I was limited in what I could do. The house is a Federal stylde Greek Revival, in case you are keeping track.
A good place to start in case you are thinking of building a fence is George Nash's Wooden Fences. What you soon learn, however, is that there are an infinite number of fence varieties, and you can change almost every detail such as the style and height of the posts, the infill (pickets, for example), the spacing between the posts, and even the color of the fence. Nash recommends, and I concur, that you drive around and try to find a fence you like. Start with your neighborhood, but a particularly wonderful place to see old homes and fences is Bennington, Vermont.
Did I really want to put a fence there? Building a fence, even a short fence, is hard work. Perhaps the most difficult and most nerve racking part of the process is measuring and then setting the posts. If you have stable, rockless soil, the job is straightforward. You can even rent an augur to dig the holes. In my case, I was putting the posts on the uphill side of a rock wall that was backfilled. There almost certainly were going to be rocks there.
Another option was to put a line of hedges above the wall. I nixed that because 1) I didn't want to have to trim the hedges and 2) I didn't want the hedge trimmings to fall in the garden. Next to be considered were some sort of trees or bushes. My wife ruled out arborvitae because we planted 25 of them along the sidewalk in front of the house, they were to supposed to grow fast, and they didn't. They also tend to get brown dead spots after a hard winter. My other choices were ruled out when I visited a nursery and was strongly advised not put broad leafed evergreens on a western exposure. During the winter they tend to dehydrate and so you have to spray them with an anti-desiccant like Wilt-Pruf. You usually need to reapply it mid-winter, and the last thing I could see myself doing was standing outside in February in upstate New York trying to spray shrubbery. The final bit that ruled out a living solution to my problem was that I could not plant anything behind the steps to the porch, and so I would not have a solution that sufficiently blocked the view of the street.
So it was back to a fence. To make a long story short (maybe too late for that now), I decided on a 3 section fence, 7 feet on center. Originally I was going to do pickets, but on the strong urging of my wife I changed the planned infill to be 1 x 4 slats with section tops shaped like arches. We have arches on the front of the house, so this will tie in well.
On Saturday I set out to put in the posts. I did all the right things to determine the proper post spacing and started in on the first hole coming out from the porch.
I managed to move and then remove several smaller stones but there was one I just could not budge. Since I wasn't deep enough yet to just put the post on top of the rock (boulder?), I had to come in closer to the house. This shortened the first panel width by 4 inches. This meant I had to reduce the other panels accordingly and, just like that, I lost a foot off the length of the fence. That was still ok, since I had allowed for some potential problems. If it had been a much longer fence I would have either had to deal with a shorter first panel or maybe re-jigger things to get more panels. After a few hours I had set all three posts in concrete and I called it a day.
On Sunday, I cut the top of the posts to the right height. The fence is going to step down 6 inches per panel, moving right to left as it goes down the hill. The posts will also project 6 inches above the height of the slats, so this took some careful measuring and leveling. I then put in a couple of the stringers and set to work attaching a 2 x 4 to the porch to hold that end of the fence. I could not set a post there because the stone wall comes right up to that point. I set the attachment piece with 2 galvanized lag bolts and one masonry bolt into the mortar between the bricks toward the bottom of the porch base. It isn't going to move soon. I added two more stringers and left the final two for today.
I got up this morning, measured the first 2 x 4 stringer to the length between the posts, and then somehow managed to cut it short. Not a little short, but something in the neighborhood of a couple of inches. I have no idea how this happened. I cut the other 2 x 4 to the right length and installed that, but now I need to get one more stringer. I'll do that some evening this week before I head off for the UK next weekend.
The fence frame is made of pressure treated lumber and so it needs to dry before I can paint it. The usual recommendation is 3 to 6 months. That would put me in the range of December to March. If I wait, it isn't likely that I'll be able to paint until late April or May, so I may just try to give it a few weeks and paint it as late as I can in October. I'm going to use regular lumber for the infill, so I can prime that and put it up. Clearly I should have built this earlier in the year, but I had to wait until the porch was rebuilt and I had some time to do the work. So the saga will continue for at least a few more weeks.
sutor 120000G8AG 191 Visits
Rereading the posts I made yesterday, I was "annoyed" and "disturbed." That sounds right. :-)[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 356 Visits
Ok, this is a rant. I get annoyed every time I see a reference to "Java Web Services" or "XML Web Services." The latter was invented by Microsoft to ensure that people wouldn't possibly associate a non-favored technology with the developing Web Services technology. Then Sun came back and started talking about Java Web Services to make it clear that that was where the real action was.
For a long time I agreed with Sun because I certainly placed Java on a pedestal as the preferred way of implementing Web Services. And since Microsoft was being so obnoxious in trying to get everyone to say "XML Web Services" and therefore trace that phrase back to Microsoft itself, I was more than happy to play along with the Java bit. I still think this is the case, that Java is more important than .Net for Web Services, though we all need to play nice and interoperate. Then in 2003, to great acclaim, we (IBM) introduced SOAP support for CICS. Were we suddenly going to start talking about "CICS Web Services" or "COBOL Web Services"? And what about those vendors that sell C++ support for Web Services? Do we have "C++ Web Services"? Oh, my gosh, is the Web Services world fracturing? Run for the hills!
The point is, we have Web Services. These are defined by real standards like SOAP, WSDL, WS-Security, BPEL4WS, and the emerging ones like WS-Addressing, WS-Notification, and so on. You don't get to make up your own definition for what a Web Service is or isn't anymore. This is not a marketing exercise. Stop it.
XML is certainly an absolutely important standard for Web Services, but did you realize that SOAP is not 100% necessary? WSDL (Web Services Description Language) is really the key standard at the center of Web Services. You can use other ways of communicating Web Services data than SOAP. For example, in some cases you might optimize the Web Services invocation to a function call. By the way, you might not even end up using HTTP. This is about standards and IT efficiency, it is not about religion.
Gartner just published an article called Consider WSDL a Critical Standard (you have to pay for it). IBM has been stressing for almost the four years since WSDL was published that it is the definition of the interface and then how you actually bind to do the communication that is important. For example, in a ComputerWire article in May of 2002, I said
"Web services will be fundamentally WSDL based. You have to use WSDL to describe [a web service] and then you can build up from there," Sutor said. "There will be a tremendous amount of use for SOAP... but there may be a more optimized protocol."
So Gartner is right: WSDL is (and has been) a critical standard for Web Services. Not XML Web Services or Java Web Services or COBOL Web Services, but just plain old Web Services.[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 286 Visits
I was rather disturbed by some news reports a couple of weeks ago that said that Sun is considering merging its Sun Network conference in with JavaOne 2005 (see Sun postpones Network product event, for example). What's up with this?
Sun Network is a Sun-specific conference for its customers and partners that is firmly rooted in Sun's commercial interests. Most of the large vendors have one or more such conferences a year and, of course, they are well within their rights to do so. We'll all continue to do so while we can afford to hold the conferences. Moreover, the conferences morph over the years as times change. For example, since IBM nows Rational, we merged the old Rational Users Conference with IBM developerWorks Live. This makes sense and supports our customers and partners. Microsoft and others do similar things.
I thought JavaOne was supposed to be an industry event where any Java vendor or user who wishes to attend can do so and be part of the Java community. There they can represent their own interests or learn about what the rest of the industry or the Java Community Process is doing, but it is not supposed to be a lot of people there to support and further Sun. We're there to support and further Java. We're there to help accelerate the adoption of Java because we believe in the technology, its promise, and that it is supposed to be an open, non-proprietary technology. That's why I, at least, have gone to JavaOne in the past. Sure marketing goes on, but all the vendors do it and there is some balance.
If Sun Network merges in with JavaOne, will we all just be participants in a Sun infomercial? (As others have noted, it already has some infomercial tendencies.) Why would vendors pay the very hefty sponsorship fees to help Sun marketing? I'm not delusional in thinking that JavaOne isn't important to the Sun marketing organization and I know they spend a lot of money on it, so they get the right to be very visible. They even get to have keynotes where they bash other sponsors ... :-) .That said, they walk a fine line between keeping the focus on Java vs. Sun. Merging Sun Network with JavaOne would completely cross over the line toward making this an explicitly Sun event. At that point it becomes a lot less interesting as a community get-together.
I believe the Java community will keep growing and growing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the sheer number of specs on JDocs shows the health of the Java world beyond the offical Java Community Process. IBM is firmly behind helping Java grow and grow into new areas.
So this is my request to Sun: keep the community JavaOne and Sun-specific Sun Network conferences separate. From what I've read, Sun has not made a final decision. I urge you to err on the side of the community on this one.
What do you think?[Read More]
Strange as it might seem, I'm going to clone a lot of what I blog here over at the WebSphere User Group community. The reasons are simple: my first commitment to a blog was to them, and I'll be adding additional content just for those readers. If I can manage not to confuse myself, I think this will all work out...[Read More]
sutor 120000G8AG 294 Visits
I've been debating with myself about whether I should mention reports by analysts in this blog since 1) we speak with many analysts and I don't want to appear to be favoring any one over the others, and 2) many of the reports cost money to read. I ultimately decided that over time I could strike a balance among the different analyst companies and their published work. As to the money issue, you can decide for yourself if you want to pay for the research. You may have already done so, in fact.
So, anyway, the first one I want to mention is "What Is An Enterprise Service Bus?" by Mike Gilpin of Forrester Research. I think this is a very good introduction to the notion of the modern Enterprise Service Bus and nicely addresses the legacy requirements as well as what we will need for SOA and Web services.
Toward the end of the report Mike mentions an "excellent" Redbook from IBM about ESBs. It is called Patterns: Implementing an SOA using an Enterprise Service Bus and you can download it for no charge. See, you did get something for free after all ...[Read More]
Over the last few months, IBM has worked with Microsoft and others to evolve the WS-Eventing spec and to better foster interoperability. The new and updated version was announced today. We hope that this leads to eventual convergence with the WS-Notification family of specs. IBM is committed to having a final set of standards that are functionally rich enough to meet the demands of our enterprise customers. So, with this in mind, we're continuing our leadership efforts to help pull together the industry with common, interoperable specifications, and we remain strongly committed to completing the work in a standards organization.
I would also like to welcome Sun to the fold on this spec and note that they were also part of the WS-Addressing update a few weeks ago. It's great to be all rowing the boat in the same direction. I know our customers think so too.
Here are a couple of WS-Eventing stories that have been published so far: IBM, CA, Sun Sign Up for WS-Eventing on internetnews.com, and
IBM, Sun join with Microsoft on Web services event specification in InfoWorld.[Read More]
If you are a Java programmer and you have not checked out JDocs, you are in for a treat. The main page states that "JDocs is a comprehensive online resource for Java API documentation." This great collection of docs is hosted by the JavaLobby. There you will find 106 sets of APIs for such things as Ant, Axis, Beehive, Eclipse, Groovy, Jython, UDDI4J, and Xalan. So this is a great and comprehensive collection of open APIs, or is it?
Sun decided that JDocs should not store the documentation for J2EE, J2ME, and J2SE because of copyright issues. So when you go to JDocs you get redirected to java.sun.com. This is a little odd because while all the documentation is actually copyrighted by Sun, the actual work in creating the documentation (and the specs) was done by the Java Community Process, that is, the hundreds of individuals who work independently and for their companies to advance these standards.
Is this an example of Sun being within their rights as the "stewards" of Java, or are they forgoing openness and the community and thereby acting like Gollum and saying "mine, mine, mine"? I would love to have your comments on this.
For more on this controversy (if it is one), see the InfoWorld article "Javalobby removes Java specs at Sun’s request: Sun said to want APIs such as J2EE, J2ME only on its own site" by Paul Krill.
By the way, when and will we see the NetBeans APIs on JDocs? :-)
In any case, JDocs is a wonderful case in point of how much wonderful work is being in done in Java in the general community.[Read More]