First blog entry! Where to begin?!
I see on the IBM blog homepage that due to my last name (Higgins), I show up just after Don Ferguson, "The father of WebSphere" (according to the WebSphere Journal), and just before Simon Johnston, one of the smartest guys I've met since I joined IBM (and at IBM, you meet quite a few smart people). So I begin this blog feeling like a utility power-forward sitting on the bench of the 1992 Chicago Bulls, sandwiched between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen*.
But hey, I've got a blog now, so let the rambling begin.
I love blogs. Well let me be more specific, I love the idea of blogging, and there are a few blogs that I love. The blogs of Grady Booch, Ted Neward, and Simon Johnston (if he would post more frequently) spring to mind immediately. But, there are many blogs that are boring and/or dumb. My *secondary* goal is for this blog not to fall into either of those two categories (lofty ambitions indeed!) My *primary* goal is to learn from the people who read this blog and who post comments on what I write. The people reading this blog are collectively much more knowledgeable than me and I hope to use this forum to narrow the gap.
So what do you have to gain from reading this blog? Let me list a few things:
- I *do* know a couple of things about designing and implementing large systems and will share them with you.
- I will avoid using buzzwords and casting new technologies as silver bullets and try to speak in plain English that is backed up by facts and logic.
- I read a lot and will provide objective recommendations on what you might benefit from reading as well (as Ted Neward says, when you read a book that sucks, you may be able to get your $40 back, but you'll never get the hours spent reading it back).
- If you are gracious enough to post a comment or question, I'll do my best to respond to it.
Thus concludes the metablog; now the real blog.
As you may have read in my intro, I am a systems engineer** on IBM's own system/software infrastructure. This has one really nice advantage - you tend to only work with IBM software products***. IBM's software products ROCK. Now I can hear you right now, "You work for IBM, of course you're going to say your products are good". But I didn't say they're good, I said they ROCK. When I talk to the greybeards of enterprise system development, I am always told, "You sure are lucky! In the late 80's/early 90's we spent the first eight weeks of every new project writing an O-R mapping layer**** and custom network transport software!" With the products we have today, like WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal, DB2, Eclipse/WSAD, we are able to START a project, having solved some really tough problems from the get-go. So it's a good time to be an enterprise systems developer.
Still, there are some challenges - many of them non-technical - that we must overcome to build the kind of robust systems that do what the business wants them to do today with adequate performance and are adaptable to the requirements of the future.
So that's what I'll start to talk about ... next time!
Now I have to send email to all of my technical friends and ask them to please read my blog and post some comments to get the ball rolling on the knowledge sharing.
* This is a basketball reference for any of you computer guys who hate sports.
** How is a systems engineer different than a software engineer? I'll punt for now and talk about it in a later blog.
*** I say "tend" because there are some software areas, such as business applications, for which IBM doesn't have a product, so we use partners' products like SAP, Siebel, Selectica, Interwoven, etc.
**** Oh, you still do spend eight weeks writing an O-R mapping layer? I thought entity beans solved that problem ;-)