SOA Talk


November 2, 2011  5:05 PM

Lisp creator John McCarthy, 84, dies

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

The ‘creator of Lisp’ may be nicer than the ‘father of garbage collection.’ But John McCarthy could answer to either sobriquet. He died last week, at 84.

With Lisp, he gave a language to artificial intelligence and set the stage for reasoning systems and robots still a’borning. With garbage collection, he began to solve a problem that had begun to stymie computer advances.

Here, for perspective, is OMG leader Richard Soley’s take on the work of John McCarthy:

Although I never had the opportunity to meet Prof. McCarthy (he inconveniently left MIT for Stanford about the time I was born), his life and work had a profound influence on me.  I worked on MacLisp, CommonLisp and other Lisp systems the entire time I was at MIT, including a detailed stint on garbage collection systems (which he invented, before I was born).  The ideas that he brought to computer science, cognitive science and the nascent field of artificial intelligence (the name of which he coined) were literally decades ahead of their time, and that kind of forethought is rare.  I was lucky enough to work with some of his contemporaries, but many, many of his students; his life’s work enriched mine tremendously.

November 2, 2011  4:56 PM

Comment: SOA and the portfolio

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Increasingly, serious SOA efforts are about managing a portfolio. That means sorting through the corporate assets to see what should be service-enabled, what should be left as is, and what should be retired. This is all about the wider, enterprise view.

It is hard to ultimately succeed with SOA services unless you take the wider view. That view must include an understanding of the organization’s overarching goals.  SOA has a technical angle, yes. But too often, SOA advocates have sent the business owner into trances with technical particulars – WSDL handshakes, ESB performance tuning metrics or service normalization patterns.

A shared vocabulary is what is needed, writes William Ulrich, head of TSG consultancy, featured in a recent SearchSOA article on application modernization issues. He sees the term and practice of business architecture gaining definition. Check out ”William Ulrich on ‘Business Architecture’- Seeking a common language.” – Jack Vaughan


October 25, 2011  3:47 PM

Azure adds integrating Service Bus

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

The Microsoft Azure cloud effort is a fairly stupendous technology undertaking, but it remains somewhat unknown beyond the ranks of .NET development teams. At the outset, Microsoft started with a bit of clean slate – it skipped SQL support. Based on customer feedback, it has adjusted along the way, supporting relational data as well as non-relational, and coming up with a pretty robust offering in the process. Continued »


October 18, 2011  9:21 PM

SOA tester provides deeper view of composite application integrations

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

SOA has driven major shifts in programming and computing. But major shifts mean major challenges and disruptions. In fact, although SOA has been around for a while, people are still busy solving some basic problems. Continued »


October 10, 2011  6:30 PM

At Oracle OpenWorld, Ellison warns: ”Beware false clouds”

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

A year ago at Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne in San Francisco , Java creator James Gosling was sited around the show periphery, people wondered what kind a Java steward Oracle would turn into, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison began selling hardware and took pot shots at Mark Benioff’s Salesforce.com cloud.

This year, a fair consensus held that Oracle might be a little better than Sun Microsystems at moving Java along, Gosling was sited around the show periphery, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison continued to sell hardware and again took pot shots at Mark Benioff’s Salesforce.com cloud.

At the event, Oracle tried to push JavaFX forward, while moving on the HTML5 front as well. It discussed closure support for J EE 8 and Project Jigsaw, a new form of module system standardization.  Meanwhile, Glassfish was demoed with cloud deployment features.

But Oracle’s big cloud push may take the form of cloud management software such as its new Enterprise Cloud Manager. Among other things, this software will go in, study your present systems, and then come up with an architecture you can use to take your applications to the cloud. The end result still seems to include a healthy helping of the Oracle SQL RDB – this despite the company’s roll-out of some alternative Hadoop and NoSQL support at the conference.  As with a lot of Oracle software these days, the NoSQL software rides some fairly high-end Oracle hardware.

When seeking comparisons to the Oracle cloud, Oracle leader Ellison ignored most alternative clouds, to focus on Salesforce.com. He inferred that Salesforce.com offered a false cloud.”Beware false clouds,” he advised. ”True cloud? False cloud? You decide.” This said in the wake of SalesForce.com leader Marc Benioff’s on-again/off-again attempts to stage an alternative keynote near Oracle Open World.

It is true that Salesforce.com’s cloud is largely proprietary. And, Oracle’s cloud as described has a healthy helping of Java and J EE middleware. But cloud architectures are such that it is difficult to judge how open, interoperable and portable a given cloud architecture is – at least at this stage. 

Truth be told, Ellison’s and Benioff’s cloudy bickering looked especially silly as word emerged that personal computer and smart phone pioneer Steve Jobs had died.

We probably don’t have much to add to the parade of Jobs’ tributes that followed his passing, but let’s say this: He worked tirelessly to enhance people’s abilities and experiences using computers, broadening technology’s use far beyond the IT glass house that existed when he started out.

Even his failures fascinated. At NeXT Computer, Jobs went full-tilt forward on object computing. His period at NeXT – the period in exile from Apple – was something of a low-point for him, but out of it came a highly modular operating system that has subsequently enabled Apple to support a variety of hardware formats. He expected object computing to improve developer productivity. What do you think? Let us know. – Jack Vaughan


October 6, 2011  7:55 PM

Oauth enlivens the identity and access management landscape

Jack Vaughan Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

By Alan Earls – For his part, Scott Morrison, CTO at Layer7, a provider of API security and governance for service-oriented, Web-oriented and cloud-oriented integration, argues that OAuth is the most interesting thing happening in identity and access management services.

Morrison says a plus with OAuth is that it is a “good basic idea that sits well with modern developers.” On the other hand, because it is a pure, open standard, it lacks the discipline needed to ensure wide interoperabilty.” With much that remains undefined, Morrison says there is a tension between OAuth as a “quick, grassroots standard and the more rigorous requirements of a formal standard.” But OASYS is now working to formalize OAuth, which may yield positive results.

From his perspective, Morrison says that developers should be mindful of the huge role mobile devices are playing in driving identity management. “With mobile there has been a move toward specific, focused apps, most using RESTful-style protocols. Many of them find themselves depending on OAuth as a means of establishing identity to a remote server,” he says. That, in turn, is driving APIs to be more OAuth aware. “Mobile apps are really driving the whole API explosion,” he continues.

Another important issue to consider, says Morrison, is the increasing importance of multiple identities being established through mobile communications. For example, a mobile device may need to establish the identity of the app it is using and then (for activities requiring security) the identity of the individual user of the app. In other words, identity management can be a multiple layer challenge.


October 5, 2011  5:35 PM

Oracle tackles cloud management

Jack Vaughan Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

By Jack Vaughan

It wasn’t that very long ago when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was denigrating the cloud – but, like others, he and his company now have a strong case of cloud fever.

The company has its own take on the new technology, heading just recently at cloud computing from the direction of software management. This week at Oracle Open World, the company addressed cloud governance issues with  Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud capabilities include: Cloud planning tools that allow architects and cloud administrators to model their cloud environment in order to optimize use of resources, as well as a capacity and consolidation planner that supports automated workflows.

For more on cloud services governance, see ”Cloud and SOA governance: Similar but different?” on SearchSOA.com.


October 4, 2011  9:27 PM

What do you think about business architecture?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

When we spoke not long ago with Enterprise Architect Ramsay Millar, the discussion centered on the types of tools that you might utilize when pursuing a framework for SOA. Now we are quite pleased for Ramsay to appear as an author on SearchSOA.com.

In ”Learning about business architecture the hard way,” he takes a look at the role of business architecture in creating failures or, more positively, in promoting successful SOAs. Without business architecture, the best we may hope for is SOA silos, he writes. Business value has always been an area of discussion for the thoughtful IT leader, but business capabilities and business architectures seem to be discussed more and more these days by SOA thought leaders. What do you think? Let us know.


September 24, 2011  4:09 PM

Progress pack said to address limits on SOA

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Long-time SOA mainstay Progress Software said it is addressing apparent SOA limitations with a pre-integrated enterprise integration package announced this week at the company’s yearly user conference. The software is composed of the Progress Sonic enterprise service bus (ESB) and the Progress DataXtend Semantic Integrator.

Enterprises can use the pre-integrated Sonic ESB and DataXtend SI enterprise solution alone or together with the Progress Actional SOA Management platform, according to the company.

Speed in development is at issue for SOA today, said Bloor Research founder and analyst, Robin Bloor. ”For IT to be successful in supporting business, it has to evolve its approach to SOA to be more responsive, particularly in how it handles change with regard to data semantics and policy,” he said in a prepared statement. At the Progress Revolution 2011 user event last week, he expanded on his thesis that ESBs must improve.

The limits identified for expanded use of SOA and ESBs are several. They include data limitations.

“Initially, SOA didn’t address data limitations, and early SOA implementations uncovered some additional challenges, of which one of them is data – data interoperability issues, data in context, and having a data model that doesn’t need to be changed every time you make a change to an application,” said Colleen Smith. A lot of the focus in the new product combo is meant to specifically address these data limitations, she said in an e-mail message.


September 23, 2011  3:11 AM

Mobile services development: The ports might get you

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

In some ways, mobile development is a bit like the bad old days of multiple Unix versions. Development teams can be kept busy full time just cycling through the multiple OSes they need to support.

 

For that reason, the plethora of mobile platforms will continue to be an obstacle for many enterprise application builders. In the view of Forrester Research Analyst Jeffrey Hammond, cost is a major factor.

 

There are little savings found for those who develop to multiple platforms, Forrester’s research suggests. Much of the cost of development for the original platform is encountered again in the subsequent application ports, Hammond told an audience at Forrester’s Application Development and Delivery Forum in Boston.

 

”People are saying it costs 50 to 70% [of the original project cost] to port to a second platform,” he said. Even in cases where needs for rewrites slim, testing and tweaking for different devices’ screen sizes can still run from 20 to 30% of the cost of the original project, according to Hammond.

 

JavaScript, HTML5 and Web browser interfaces may eventually be a mobile game changer. But it is early to tell. Hardware vendors have begun to embed hooks that speed up browser execution capabilities.

 

But, because there are performance benefits to native mobile OS support today – and performance can be the decisive factor in mobile application success – the dilemma of multiple ports may be with us awhile.

 

Hammond cited one, native; two, Web; three, hybrid;  and four, mobile middleware as a service as the main approaches to mobile application development at present.


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