Do customers need the WebSphere Adapters work in WAS 6.1?
A couple of days ago in WAS 6.1 and WebSphere Adapters, I answered the question "Do the WebSphere Adapters work in WAS 6.1?" (Answer: No.) But this makes me wonder: Do you really need the Adapters to run in WAS?
I don't know for sure what plans WAS development has; if I knew for sure, I probably couldn't say anyway; and in any event, plans might change. So I'm just kind of speculating out loud here. (These are my opinions, not necessarily the official position of my employer, blah blah blah.)
The Adapters are pre-built J2C connectors for connecting to external systems. A classic build vs. buy decision, you can buy them from us because that's way easier and cheaper than building them yourself. They make the most sense in an environment/server like WESB/Process Server or Message Broker, because those give you higher-level programming models specialized around integration. (WESB/Process Server uses SCA built on J2EE; WMB uses its own message flow model.)
They make sense because connecting to an external system (the Channel Adapter pattern) is only half the battle. Once you can connect, and communicate with the system using messages, then you've gotta do something with those messages. WESB/WPS and WMB provide models for doing this, perhaps for linking lots of Adapters together and mediating between them. WAS and J2EE don't offer a model like this; like everything else in J2EE, you write Java code to use J2C connectors. This is fine, it's just another programming model, a lower-level and less-specialized one compared to SCA and message flows. But J2EE is the only programming model available in WAS.
So if you're using WAS to develop applications that are doing at least some integration, rather than using WESB or WPS, then you're saying, "I don't need that fancy higher-level integration programming model, I'm fine with just J2EE. Or I at least don't want to pay for a higher-level model. I'll just write Java code." OK, that's fine. But in that mind set, you're going to want a higher-level Adapter model and be willing to pay for it? If you're building your own integration logic from scratch, maybe you'll be inclined to build your own connectors from scratch too.
So it seems to me that the main market that's going to want the advantages of the Adapters is the market that also wants the advantages of WESB/WPS and WMB. Those who want to write their own integration in Java may well also want to implement their own connectors. So maybe the WAS marketplace for the Adapters is rather limited, and so maybe it's a lower priority for IBM. (I don't know for sure, but this is what makes sense to me.)
So part of the moral of this story is this: If you're using WAS and don't want to move up to WESB/WPS (which may well be perfectly fine in your circumstances), but you want and will pay for the Adapters, then you may need to make your needs known to IBM. You should (I believe) talk to your WebSphere salesperson and let them know that you'd like to be able to buy and use the Adapters in your WAS apps. They can communicate this back to WebSphere Marketing, which can then better judge market demand and set priorities accordingly. You don't have to talk to your sales rep, but it's probably the best way to make your needs known so that we can try to address them better.
WAS 6.1 and WebSphere Adapters, Part 2