Yin meets yang
Blog Authors: Valerie Skinner 060000VKGS is part of the IBM developerWorks team, getting to know the real developers who make up the My developerWorks community and exploring the world of social networking. I'm enjoying learning what makes developers tick! I'm very interested in exploring online communities and social media and understanding real world application - how they can help people solve problems and work together.
This week, get to know Lee Ackerman. He talks about his passion for Patterns Based Engineering that resulted in co-authoring a book, plus what he's working on now with pureXML.
What drew you to a career in technology?
Personal computers were becoming prominent as I was growing up. Between trying to write some code on TI99/4a's, Vic20's, Commodore 64's and playing video games – I've always been drawn to computers and technology. I still have fond memories of getting issues of Compute magazine and trying to use some of the code for the games they published each month. So it was a natural progression to go from these interests into taking technical courses at elementary school, high school and university and then finding related career opportunities.
Congratulations on the publication of your new book on Patterns Based Engineering! What is Patterns Based Engineering all about and what sparked your interest in it?
Thanks! Myself and my co-author, Celso Gonzalez, are quite excited to have the book completed and shipping. The idea behind Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE) is that we need to be systematic, disciplined and look to quantify our efforts in using patterns to create software solutions. Where a pattern is a proven, best practice solution to a known, recurring problem – within a specific context. The patterns that we look to use can either be a specification – a formal, written document that describes the pattern. Or, we can look to use a pattern implementation – where we have an automated version of the pattern. As part of the PBE effort, we look to bring together an optimal mix of pattern implementations and pattern specifications – while incorporating a combination of patterns that we find available in the community along with those patterns that are unique to our organization.
I had been using patterns in my development efforts for many years – and had seen some of the struggles that existed in getting an entire organization to learn about and then successfully use patterns. Along the way, I began to work with the Rational modeling tools – and spent a great deal of time in helping others to use these tools. A key aspect of working with these tools was the ability to automate patterns – both in terms of impacting the design in UML, but also in generating solution artifacts such as code, scripts, and other text-based materials.
What tools do you think are essential for Patterns Based Engineering?
A good place to start is recognizing that having the right mindset is the most essential aspect to success with Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE). We need to be on the lookout for opportunities to use patterns and to capture new patterns. And it needs to be a mindset that goes beyond just an individual – we need teams and organizations thinking about what patterns are available, which need to be captured and where it makes sense to invest in capturing/using patterns.
With such a mindset in place, we can then look at how we use patterns. At its simplest, we can look to use pattern specifications – written, formal descriptions of patterns. In terms of tools – we can get by with tools as simple as an editor and some shared online space.
As we look to automate and grow out our efforts, we can look to use tools such as Rational Software Architect and Rational Asset Manager to help us in creating, using and managing our patterns.
In addition to the PBE book, we've also written a development practice that details the roles, tasks, work products and key concepts associated with PBE. To read the content in the practice, all that's needed is a standard web browser. However, we can take things much further if we use products such as Eclipse Process Framework Composer or Rational Method Composer. These tools allow us to customize the practice – AND – we can integrate the practice with other practices (such as Scrum, XP, etc). This enables us to create a process that is unique and specific to our organization.
What was the experience of writing a book like - what were the biggest surprises?
Writing a book was a great experience. It helps to have a great partner to work with – I'd expect that it would be a much more difficult project to try and handle the writing on your own. Going into this effort, myself and Celso had collaborated on a number of projects in the past – so we had a very good working relationship already in place. This provided us with a good foundation to build upon.
Some of the things that stand out from this experience include:
- Willingness of others to help out. We had many people along the way take time to provide us with their thoughts and input.
- Find tools that can help. We used a number of products to help us. This was especially important as this was a distributed effort – we don't live in the same city. So it was critical to have tools that supported us in communicating, sharing artifacts, and versioning our content.
- And the last item – which was the biggest surprise – was just the length of time and amount of effort that went into the process. Overall we took over a couple of years to go from initial writing of the book proposal to having the book completed and shipping. In addition, during this timeframe we would spend many a night and weekend moving the project forward.
How do you use developerWorks?
I'm a big fan of developerWorks. In writing the book, we used developerWorks for some of our research – accessing articles, tutorials, blogs and RedBooks. In working for IBM, one way I use developerWorks is for staying up-to-date and performing research. I also use developerWorks to help connect with the audience that I'm helping with the IBM software products. For many years – that meant writing articles and tutorials in support of Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer. More recently, I've been focused on the pureXML capabilities of DB2. For pureXML, we've also been taking advantage of some of the newer aspects that developerWorks provides such as Wikis and Forums.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
I've recently joined a team within our Information Management group that focuses on helping customers and partners in using XML within their solution. In particular we look to help in using the pureXML capabilities of DB2. XML is pervasive in today's solutions – so I'm looking at how we can construct end to end solutions that best take advantage of XML. So in addition to diving into the details of DB2, OLTP, XQuery, SQL/XML, XPath and XSLT – I'm also looking at how this best works with application servers, SOA, Web 2.0 and industry standards.
And in bringing these full circle, I'm also working on a project focused on the patterns that surface in creating solutions that incorporate XML. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some articles on dW that discuss the results of this effort.
How are you using social networking today?
I'm trying to find the aspects of social networking that work best for me. Right now, I'm using Twitter (@lmackerman), LinkedIn, and have a couple of blogs (http://patternsbasedengineering.net/ and http://leeackerman.blogspot.com/ ). With these tools – the focus has been on connecting with others and finding/sharing information.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Here's a few of my favorites:
1. Grady Booch's blog - Grady typically touches upon a range of items related to software architecture.
2. Native XML Database - Matthias Nicola, author of the pureXML Cookbook, posts to this site – adding details on working with XML and the pureXML capabilities of DB2
3. GigaOM – news, opinion and analysis of the tech news
4. WebSphere Community blog - in particular, they have some excellent coverage of the WebSphere XML Feature Pack – for working with XML in the middle tier.
- Thanks Lee!
I was intrigued when I first heard the concept of SmartCamp, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and mentors in a fast paced bootcamp and competition. Hear what Angela Bates has to share about the SmartCamp in London and more opportunities for startups to build a Smarter Planet with IBM.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm the UK and Ireland Marketing team leader for IBM ISV and Developer Relations. I've worked in the IT space for more than 20 years both with major global corporations - including IBM and Hewlett-Packard - and with business partner organisations. My team and I are currently working on leading the marketing campaign for IBM Global Entrepreneur, building co-marketing campaigns with ISVs, delivering more that 100 ecosystem events and building Smarter Planet client references with UK and Irish business partners, developers, students and academics
Tell me about the recent SmartCamp in London. What was the most interesting or exciting thing about SmartCamp?
IBM SmartCamp London took place on 21st July at Imperial College London. SmartCamp is an exclusive event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and experienced mentors who want to help us build a Smarter Planet. SmartCamp provides startups access to world-class advisors, plus a direct route to seed and venture capital.
SmartCamp London attracted more than 70 registrations from the startup community. It was a tough job to filter this down to 23 shortlisted candidates which were interviewed at our IBM Innovation Centre, South Bank in Central London. After some tough discussions, we chose 5 fantastic finalists which stood out from the rest: 3Strata Technologies, Ark Mobile Finance, Kinesense, Shaspa, and WorldSensing. The overall winner was WorldSensing, with a classic Smarter Planet/Smarter Cities solution.
The most exciting aspect of the event was the amazing ecosystem that gathered at the event and their incredibly positive feedback from attending the event... their comments included:
"Congratulations to the whole team on SmartCamp London - it was a fascinating day for me, and an impressive lineup of potential partners for IBM for the future." - Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing and Communications, IBM UK & Ireland
Audience Feedback included:
“No other company comes even close to IBM in its outreach and support of entrepreneurs"
" I love the IBM smarter planet strategy, it seems like the company really cares, I am deeply impressed."
"Beautifully Organised. Great central London Location"
"Outstanding Companies, well chosen"
"Thought it would be more formal, it was a nice surprise"
"Brilliant event and excellent smarter planet campaign"
"Great event that helped bring together the large businesses and the fresh new startups"
"Doug Richards was a great addition to this event, I learnt a lot and broadened my network significantly"
"Was excellent to be able to receive feedback from such a range of people.
"Great networking event, good keynote speakers as well"
I read on your blog that there is actually going to be an international SmartCamp finals on November 15, where one business will be named “The World’s Smartest Start-up”. Tell me more about that!
WorldSensing will now go forward to the global final of "SmartCamp", which will be held in Dublin from 15-17 November. Winners from each one of the IBM SmartCamp events from around the world - from Silicon Valley, Boston and Waltham in the US, to Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Dublin and Tel Aviv in Europe - will gather with leading mentors from around the world in Dublin to name the 'World's Smartest Startup.
If someone missed out on the chance to be part of SmartCamp, are there still opportunities they can seek out with IBM?
There are more SmartCamp events planned around the world, so keep checking our web site for dates and locations: http://www-05.ibm.com/ie/smarterplanet/smartcamp/index.html
I'd encourage all startups less than 3 years old, to join IBM Global Entrepreneur. This programme - announced in March this year - has the products, people, and promotion that can help technology startups extend the size and reach of their company. The initiative provides support and resources in the areas these startups need most:
* No charge access to IBM’s software portfolio on-site or through the cloud to accelerate software development
* Dedicated technical enablement support to help startups develop their product and get to the marketplace faster.
* Mentors at IBM SmartCamps around the world who can help them grow their business.
* Industry market intelligence from our top industry experts that can help them understand the enterprise customer and the market opportunity.
* Visibility as part of the IBM Smarter Planet agenda to set themselves apart from the competition.
* Recognition and additional benefits to partners with the most innovative solutions
* Opportunity to showcase their company in the IBM Global Entrepreneur directory.
Startups who meet the eligibility criteria can register at http://www.ibm.com/isv/startup. On our application form we ask a few simple questions to help us understand a little about their companies, and once accepted they will be contacted by one of our Project Resource Managers (PRM). The assigned PRM will make a personal call to welcome them, and will guide them through how they can make best us of the resources we provide on a one-to-one basis.
What are the challenges that entrepreneurs face & how does IBM help? How can entrepreneurs benefit from IBM's leadership with Smarter Planet?
Today, the world’s physical systems are being infused with intelligence, and this opportunity to apply information technology to physical infrastructure opens up vast new markets for the IT industry. With disruptive, new technologies, this is the perfect scenario for innovative entrepreneurs to play a major role. With IBM’s unique vision of a Smarter Planet, we are looking to partner with technology entrepreneurs who share this vision and want to work together to address this new market opportunity. Technology Startups, together with IBM, can drive change to build a Smarter Planet,
What future technology would make your life easier?
The Battery Operated Butler / Maid - for all those boring laundry and housework chores. What can I say - housework sucks.
- Thanks Angela!
This week get to know Yakura Coffee in this interview where he talks about new things happening around WebSphere emerging technology and the online community he's working to build.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been been with IBM for 11 years with a B.S in Industrial Engineering from PennState and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. My current role is Technical Evangelist and Community Manager for the WebSphere Foundation suite of products WebSphere eXtreme Scale , WebSphere Cloudburst, and WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack OSGi and JPA. My responsibilities include businesses development of our online communities, allowing satisfied customers to congregate and extol the virtues of a IBM WebSphere's Emerging Technology while leveraging mechanisms such as blogs, podcasts, message boards, product reviews, conferences, and technical articles.
What cool new things are happening in WebSphere that you think alot of people aren't aware of (but should be!)?
When people think WebSphere, they natural think software, but we have introduced 2 products WebSphere Cloudburst and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliances that are hardware-based solution that customers can drop into their existing infrastructure to manage and scale their cloud-based images and software with ease.
I'm really intrigued to see the new WebSphere Emerge group that you're building. Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for WebSphere Emerge?
We are trying to build synergies with this community between developers, business partners, and university relations to build high-touch relationships that will provide transparent content and drive customer-driven requirements into our products. WebSphere Emerge is just starting out but we have some great content and contributions to come.
How did you end up leading the development of an online community?
I was recruited to join the www.projectzero.org Community 2-years ago based on my Web development and PHP scripting experience. My experience on helping launch and manage the www.projectzero.org Community and my early dive in to social media technologies made it a natural fit. My MBA comes into play as we leverage marketing techniques to spreading our mission and business analytics in measuring our ROI.
What social networking tools do you use the most and why?
1. CoTweet: Great at organizing twitter streams and managing multiple accounts via a browser.
2. bit.ly: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows me to push url shortened tweets fast...and then track the click-thrus for additional metrics.
3. Delicious: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows my team to categorize our content/links and share it with customers very efficiently. Our elaborate tagging allows users to follow specific feeds based on their interest.
If you just won a contest and won a shiny new gadget, what would make you most excited?
I am a home theater movie fanatic. Therefore the item that would get me the most excited would be the Panasonic AE4000 Projector. Projecting my favorite Sci-Fi movies on a 120+ screen try to mimic the IMAX experience would be totally awesome!
- Thanks Yakura!
I'm glad to be back this week featuring a new interview with Kelley Anders, a Senior Software Engineer focused on IBM eSupport Client Strategy.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been with IBM for 15 years performing a variety of roles from consultant to client support representative to manager and most recently, becoming a certified Project Management Professional (r). I'm currently working on promoting IBM Electronic Support Tools via the social media avenues of our developerWorks Blog, Twitter account, Facebook account and YouTubeChannel
What's your favorite aspect of your work?
It's the constant opportunity to learn. One of the most exciting things about taking on a new project is the learning process and related material. For me, it's a great opportunity to draw on the experience of others. For the folks with whom I'm interacting, they get to revisit what it was like when they were first learning or perhaps view things in a different way when I ask questions - and I ask a lot of questions ;-)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how do you end up picking a career in technology?
I actually still don't know what I want to be when I grow up - maybe a musician or yoga instructor? However, I actually got into technology via cartography and geographic information systems. In college, I was scribing maps and began creating computerized maps. Then figured if I could write programs that made maps, what else could I program?
Tell me about the IBM Electronic Support Community group and blog... What's your vision for it?
Ideally, I'd like to use it as a multi-dimensional communication vehicle. Not only to use it to communicate outward on all the Electronic Support Tools and options, but also to receive input. What problems are are clients, external and internal, facing that Electronic Support Tools could help solve? Additionally, get the community sharing best practices and ideas as well.
Tell me about IBM Fix Central- what makes it unique?
Fix Central is just one of the tools in the IBM Electronic Support Portfolio of options available to our clients. It's the front end to IBM's Electronic Fix Distribution Infrastructure. It performs a specific role in the Electronic Support family of tools and options - delivering maintenance for software , firmware, etc... in one place.
How do you use developerWorks?
Currently I'm using it to communicate outward with the Electronic Support blog posts. In the past, I've used developerWorks for everything from research to downloading software.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
The underpinnings of Social media infrastructure are quite interesting to me. I'm learning about the algorithms used to count direct clicks and why you want one algorithm over another. For example, I want to count person clicks as opposed to an automated machine / bot click. Which algorithm do I use to distinguish between the two, and then, how do I best present and use that data to make future decisions on what content to deliver to my on-line communities?
The most underrated technology is:
IBM mainframes. In this age of mobile computing where smaller and portable is considered leading edge, I think folks sometimes forget about Big Iron and how it has continuously transformed to meet an ever-changing marketplace.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
As I stated in the July 1st post in the IBM Electronic Support Community blog, "We want to build a "Smarter Planet" by enabling our clients to help themselves."
- Thanks Kelley!