I've put together a short list of resources for learning about using Ajax and REST together.
I talked about Ajax and REST in REST vs. SOAP/WSDL (pt 2). Since then, I've added a short list of Ajax and REST articles to REST vs. SOAP-WSDL (on my wiki). The first two articles are by our own Bill Higgins.[Read More]
Bobby Woolf: WebSphere SOA and JEE in Practice
From archive: March 2007 X
Daylight saving time in the United States will start this weekend. Are your computers ready?
For daylight saving time (DST), the time will shift forward one hour on Sunday, March 11th at 2am. (And it'll shift back on Sunday, November 4th at 2am.) So what? Well, as I documented in "Daylight Savings Time and Java" (five months ago), computers may not handle this time properly. The popular press has picked up on this story in the last week or two and begun to ask, "Daylight Savings: Y2K All Over Again?," which the more technically savvy computer press is answering, "Daylight savings a nuisance, but no Y2K."
BTW, changes are necessary. IBM has a site listing the patches for its products; see "IBM Alerts and Daylight Savings Time." Microsoft has a similar Daylight Saving Time Help and Support Center site.
What I don't understand is why DST is such a big deal. Y2K was about us programmers taking shortcuts with how dates are stored, and the chickens came home to roost at the end of the century (give or take a year). But DST isn't about storing dates or times, it's about human preferences for when sunrise and sunset occur, and the position of the sun at the time we call "noon." What do computers care where the sun is?
DST should affect the way the correct current time is displayed to us humans; errors would confuse us into being an hour late for appointments. But why is it a problem for the computers themselves? The IT ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center) warns in "IT-ISAC: 2007 Daylight Saving Time Alert" (PDF) that the change could cause "failures of systems that depend on correct time stamps to store, monitor or help operate critical infrastructures."
Failures? Really?! How dumb are computers these days? Maybe I don't get it, but it seems like this isn't that difficult of a problem to solve.
All computers' clocks should synchronize their time to one unchanging standard, usually Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Many international sources with timestamps "all use UTC to avoid confusion about time zones and daylight saving time." Sound familiar?
I think this is the way Unix computers have worked for 30 years now. Their internal clocks run on GMT/UTC time and never change (except if/when they need to be resynchronized; see "Network Time Protocol (NTP)"). The way they display time to the user does take into account the time zone the computer is located in and daylight saving time, but that's just the display. If you move such a computer to a different time zone and change its time zone setting, the computer doesn't change its clock's setting, it just changes the offset added to the time when displaying it to the user. But logs that the computer keeps and signals sent to other computers should all be scheduled and time stamped by the computer's internal GMT/UTC time.
So if computers worked this way today, I would think there should be no system failures just because of DST. Patches would be needed for displaying time to humans and interpreting times inputted by humans, but computers and networks should internally be able to keep time just fine. I thought this is more the way things worked today, but apparently not. That's what's really frightening.[Read More]
Updated: 09-Mar-2007 19:30 UTC
The Java patch for the daylight saving time schedule change has a bug. But most applications are probably unaffected.
As discussed in Daylight Savings Time and Java, the schedule for daylight saving time in the U.S. is changing this year, which means computers need to be patched, which includes Java and thus IBM's Java-based products like WAS. IBM has set up a DST section on the IBM Alerts site to help make the patches easier to find.
Well, it turns out that Sun's DST patches for Java themselves have a bug. It was discovered last week, but relates back to a previous bug:
There's some debate as to how likely you are to run into this problem; it's easy to recreate, but it only affects code for parsing timestamps with three-letter timezone abbreviations. IBM's (and Sun's?) opinion/guidance seems to be that this problem shouldn't really exist anymore since as of JDK 1.2 in 1998, Java application code isn't supposed to use three-letter timezone abbreviations anymore. So it's probably not worth worrying about this unless you have an application that parses timestamp strings and are seeing it fail. In any event, if you're having the problem, IBM has a patch for its JDK.
In response to the latest bug, IBM has released a new version of its Java Time Zone Update (JTZU) utility, version 1.4.7c. The JTZU versions are a bit confusing; here's the story (as I understand it; take this with a grain of salt):
So 1.2.7a and 1.3.7a are generally available from IBM, adjust DST for the new dates in 2007 and later years, and are equivalent to each other on all platforms except JDK 1.3.1 on Solaris. Most applications should not run into Sun Java Bug #6530336, but if yours do, apply 1.4.7c.
So, where do you get the JTZU utility?
I still wonder: Why do computers care about daylight saving time? If they would just use UTC clocks and timestamps, it seems like a lot of these problems would go away.[Read More]
There's a new podcast on ebizQ that interviews IBM about its ESB strategy.
The podcast, "IBM's Three-Tiered ESB Solution Strategy," is an interview with Leif Davidsen, IBM’s Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for WebSphere Application Integration.
Some of the topics Leif discusses include (on my wiki):
ebizQ also has a webinar with Leif: "Leverage Value of Existing IT Investments with SOA Reuse and Connectivity."
For another podcast that has more depth on DataPower, see Podcast on SOA Appliances.[Read More]
Southside Electric Cooperative says SOA "paid for itself in the first year."
This is according to "Electricity provider cites SOA for efficiency gains." (Computerworld) The project used IBM WebSphere products and Qualcomm's OmniTRACS.
IBM has a press release: "IBM Turns On Southside Electric Cooperative to Software Recycling; Coop Delivers $1.2 Million Capital Credits Refund to Member-Owners." (What a clever title; just screams "SOA," doesn't it?!)
Cryptic press release titles aside, SOA really does work and really produces business value. See SOA Success at Delaware Electric, SOA Success with Rational and WebSphere, and Software's SOA buzz yielding dividends.[Read More]
developerWorks now has a podcast on SOA quality management.
I've talked about IBM's new focus on SOA Quality Management. If you'd like to learn more, check out the podcast, "Bobby Woolf on SOA quality management," one of the developerWorks podcasts.
Yup, I'm the one being interviewed, but hopefully it's still interesting to listen to anyway.[Read More]
Now you can hear me rant about the DST bug.
You may have read my discussion of Why do computers care about daylight saving time?. Now hear me talk about it on this week's developerWorks podcast: "This week on developerWorks -- 13 Mar 2007." My editorial starts at 6:30 (six-and-a-half minutes from the beginning of the recording). Enjoy.[Read More]
IBM has announced that they will stop supporting WAS 5.1 in September 2008.
The announcement is "Software support discontinuance: IBM WebSphere Application Server V5.1 products": Support ends for all editions of WAS 5.1 on September 26, 2008 (18 months from now). You can see confirmation on the support lifecycle page for all versions of WAS as well as for all IBM software products. WAS 5.1 has been available since January 16, 2004, so it will have been supported for 4.75 years.
Support for WAS 5.1 on z/OS had previously been announced to end on April 30, 2008; that has now been revised to September 30, 2008. See "Software service discontinuance: Selected System z products — Some replacements available." The support lifecycle pages don't seem to have been updated for z/OS yet. I don't know why the official date is Sept. 26 for distributed and Sept. 30 for z/OS; it's usually the last day of the month.
You can also check out the IBM Software Support Lifecycle Policy summary and details.
So what's the point of these announcements? If you're using WAS 5.1, you need to start planning to migrate to WAS 6.0 or 6.1 (and be finished by September 2008).
So what was technical support like back in the Middle Ages?
My collegue Keys Botzum found this: "Introducing the book: Gutenberg offers 'In your home' support." Of course, it's also on YouTube, but this version doesn't have subtitles for the spoken language (Norwegian?).
The first site says the clip is "from Norwegian show 'Oystein & Meg'." The YouTube post says of the clip: "It's from a show called Øystein & Meg (Øystein & I) produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting television channel (NRK) in 2001. The spoken language is Norwegian. It's written by Knut Nærum and performed by Øystein Bache and Rune Gokstad."
Check it out; it gets funnier and funnier.[Read More]
IBM has made available a pretty helpful demo of WebSphere Integration Developer.
I've finally gotten around to creating a WebSphere Integration Developer page (on my wiki). On there, amongst other WID info, I list the demo: "WebSphere Integration Developer: One Tool, One Set of Skills."[Read More]
The IBM developerWorks site has won the 2007 Jolt Hall of Fame award.
The 17th Annual Jolt Award Winners have been announced, and the IBM developerWorks (on my wiki) Web site has won the Hall of Fame award. developerWorks editor-in-chief Michael O'Connell discusses it on his blog in dW wins Jolt Hall of Fame award; Booch, Ambler, dW authors also honored.
developerWorks also won a Jolt Product Excellence award in 2004: "developerWorks wins Jolt Product Excellence Award: Recognized as the best "Website and Developer Network"."[Read More]