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 Wade Williams, development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team. Connect with him in the new C^3 community for Cognos developers.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I live in Ottawa, and have been enjoying the nicest summer weather in several years. I am the development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team, and we have been busy working on the next product release. We've heard some feedback from customers, as well as working on some ideas of our own.
What project are you most proud of ? Have you ever invented something?
I am proud of the release of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service in the 8.4.1 release to our customers in December of 2009. It has been gratifying to see the customer response to CMS, and confirm the power of being able to apply their IBM Cognos BI applications where ever they are needed. Me and some of my team mates filed a patent for some of the ideas embodied in CMS, back in May, 2008.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I like to read about technical topics (internet and books), and in many cases try things out using samples provided with articles. I have to admit, I get a lot of help from my team who are a smart group of people and are reading a lot about the evolution of web services. I ask a lot of questions.
What's the coolest thing about Cognos Mashup Service - what do you wish more people knew about it?
It's hard to pick just one, I like the fact that the web services are available automatically as soon as a BI object is created. With simple web service calls (REST or SOAP), BI objects can be fetched and integrated into any application, business process, or portal. CMS is a complete report consumer API, that offers all useful operations (get report output, prompts, authentication, etc.) and all of the value of the BI application (drill, formatted data, unformatted data, etc.)
What are some of the unique things that developers can do with Cognos?
I'll answer this with a Cognos Mashup Service scenario :-). IBM Cognos has a ton of great features building Business Intelligence (BI) applications for analyzing and understanding your data. The IBM Cognos Connection portal and Cognos Viewer UI provide an attractive and highly functional consumer web UI for consuming that BI.
IBM Cognos Mashup Service serves up those same BI assets for integration with other applications, such as mashing up with other data sources or plugging BI data into visualization tools that are unique and important to a specific application.
Also, not all applications are HTML web applications, so CMS provides a way to get BI assets and present them with other UI technologies. One example of this is what IBM Cognos has done to render IBM Cognos BI in Microsoft Office or on mobile devices. The XML representation of reports gives a lot of flexibility.
I know that IBM Cognos customers have way more ideas about how to apply their data than I can imagine. CMS makes a lot of things possible.
Tell me about the new C^3 community for developers.
C to the power of 3, is our new IBM Cognos developer community site. A group of bloggers have been contributing to a growing list of posts that help customers build applications using IBM Cognos. The bloggers are members of development teams (including me - pointyhair) and others with a lot of experience building applications using IBM Cognos. Together, we have a lot of experience and we want to help customers be successful using IBM Cognos. It's possible to build some really good applications that use IBM Cognos, and our customers certainly have.
C^3 provides a place to discuss the "art of the possible". Blog posts typically explain how to use some part of the product API's, and provide an example, including code if appropriate. If you're just starting out, or even if you have something to share, C^3 is a great place share and learn.
What are some of your go-to web sites?
Mostly, it starts at www.google.com
If you could write a book on anything, what would you write about?
Well, I can't think of something that I have enough to say about to fill a book. Perhaps it would be about how NOT to do something. I think I could write a book about how NOT to do woodworking. I would call it Fine Woodwrecking. It could be one of a series.
- Thanks Wade!
This week get to know Allen Montejo as he shares what he's been working on as a J2EE application developer and what the IT industry is like in the Philippines. He's definitely inspiring as he looks at ways that technology can improve the world!
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a software engineer with almost 8 years of rigid software development experience using different technology as required for the project, building software from scratch to maintenance and to its evolution. I am new to IBM and was hired as IT specialist and am currently assigned to a project as a J2EE Application Developer. Currently I am working on the web application project that is used for smart and fast information research in many different field. The project was built using IBM enterprise development tools which is the Rational Application Developer (RAD 7). I never used this tools before I came to IBM and I was amazed how easy it was to use and how fast to learn the tools for development. I am quite fan of J2EE open source tools and technology such as Eclipse, Netbeans, and Oracle JDeveloper but with RAD it has many cool features that can boost development productivity. IT Firms should try using this tool for their business since it helps productivity. Aside from being a software developer in our team, I was also given a chance to get involved with project management which gave me good benefits in the end. I learned about IBM's software development processes from enhancement, maintenance to full release.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How did you end up choosing a career as an IT professional?
Actually in the Philippines, we have this custom that our parents are the ones who decide what course to take in college. Though I was interested and had a great desire in computers and computing, they decided for me to take Accountancy since at that time the course was in high demand. But then accidentally when I was trying to inquire and enroll to different Universities, I was always getting denied because the course was already full in capacity. I was determined to go to college and hopefully to land a better job someday because life in our country is very difficult when you don't have a degree finished. And so I enrolled to Computer Science without asking permission first to my parents, and this is also the profession I always wanted.
I chose this career because I believe that technology will always evolve and human beings will always find ways for a better life through the help of technology. And also I am very curious about how computers work and how it will change or help our lives in the near future.
What's happening in the Philippines related to technology? What's the high tech climate like there?
Currently there are a lot of foreign IT Firms starting to establish business in our country and also local companies starting to embrace software development type of business. Our new government is starting to automate their processes for fast and accurate results to the selected agency services that have a critical function, like what we had in the last May 2010 election, it is the first automated voting system to be successfully implemented.
Regarding our climate, Philippines is one of the country in Asia which is most visited by typhoons, we even have up to 4 different typhoons in a month. We have PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) a government agency that monitors our weather and typhoons. Unfortunately, currently the agency still uses old technology and approaches for monitoring change in weather. But I think our current government administration is planning to upgrade the technology on PAGASA. Actually when I heard the news I posted a suggestion to our new elected President on Facebook to use the IBM supercomputer which can perform 34 trillion calculation a second, which I believe is the perfect solution to our unpredictable weather change. Hopefully they will consider my suggestion. ;-)
What's the most challenging aspect of being a Software Engineer (and how do you handle it)?
Aside from technical and logic formulation which I find challenging and interesting in my daily work, I think the most challenging situation I'd experience as a software engineer is negotiating and communicating with a client that has no good background in software development. I find it very hard and time consuming for us to make them understood the process development must undergo. Explanation and solution recommendation is a bit tricky since they do not understand technical terms we use. The only solution I implement when I encounter such situation is patience and transformation of technical terminology to layman's terms or to their perspective to better understand things and to synchronize with development team.
What's your approach to keeping your skills current? What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
Reading tech news is one of my hobbies and becoming part of my daily routine. I also get myself involved and participate actively on tech forums and group mails which I am interested in. Collaboration and sharing ideas with the group of people that have the same interests as I have is the key for keeping the skills updated and concurrent. And of course reading tech books to achieve new skills because in our profession we cannot afford to be left behind, it is a constant learning process.
Currently I am quite interested on the declarative languages such as Python and Ruby, I'm playing with it in my free time. I'm also exploring new web frameworks and design patterns. And for IBM, I am learning how to manage and handle the software life cycle and processes.
How do you use developerWorks?
Well, developerWorks is one of my resources to keep my skills updated, keep in touch with people with the same interest as mine and to keep me informed what is concurrent news at IBM. I also use developerWorks to update my working status online. What I like is that it has a feature to automatically update to my other networking accounts such Facebook. I hope soon it will cater auto update to other networking sites too.
How are you using social networking today?
I'm using social networking to keep in touch w/ my distance friends and relatives. I also use it as a resource in my profession, to gather different information and data, collaborate and share my thoughts and experience in certain topics.
Can you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I think my principles and beliefs in doing things in life - my work may be futuristic but I'd still prefer to live and implement life in ancient ways. :-)
- Thanks Allen!