By Jack Vaughan
Over many years, application development has proved to be something of a search for the appropriate level of abstraction. As integration projects have gained sway, APIs that somehow encapsulate means of performing basic tasks have become as important as the programming languages that developers use daily.
by Rob Barry
The Hadoop World conference attracted a diverse crowd this year with speakers from IBM, Facebook, Intel, Amazon, the telecom industry and others. With a growing set of discussion topics and wider number of sectors represented, it appears the Hadoop architecture for handling large data sets has tapped a mainstream artery.
“A year ago, if you looked at what people were doing with Hadoop, it was primarily focused on the Web space,” said Christophe Bisciglia, founder of Cloudera. “This year we’re seeing it across many verticals.”
With so many differences between the various cloud platforms out there, could PHP be the one language to rule them all? PHP firm Zend Technologies thinks so. The company recently partnered with IBM, Microsoft, Nirvanix, Rackspace and GoGrid to launch a simple API for cloud application services. Zend said the PHP-based, open-source API will be able to access services across all major cloud platforms.
In time, Zend aims to see the Simple Cloud API translated to any object-oriented language for the Web. This should come as good news to those fearing vendor lock-in with the cloud computing space.
Business process management systems (BPMSs) can be criticized for being either too business user-centric and lightweight, or overly technical and not user-friendly. The culture of SOA, however, is a culture of collaboration between departments and that can be useful for a BPMS to emulate.
A SOA-based BPMS targeting development teams, Active Endpoints’ ActiveVOS seeks to take a middle road approach to this problem. The company just launched the ActiveVOS 7.0 release, where it updated core technologies and streamlined the user experience a bit.
“BPM suites that focus on business users, they don’t get technical enough,” said Alex Neihaus, VP of marketing at Active Endpoints. “They become islands of computing and sit off by themselves. And with BPMS for architects and developers, the level of cost and complexity is beyond the level of what most people are willing to undertake.”
The company’s approach is to offer drag-and-drop AJAX forms using Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0 to generate executable Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) 2.0 processes. When a step is dragged into a process, the flow is automatically mapped out and can then be altered.
There is also built in support for interfacing with human processes via the WS-HumanTask standard. The BPMS supports a host of standards
Michael Rowley, the company’s CTO, said the new version would also support mashups.
“There is a new approach to enterprise mashups,” said Rowley. “Put all of the logic for presentation on the client and have the calls go right into the enterprises services layer.”
Rowley said it is too sluggish to have mashups put in calls to data providers. Rather, he favors having the calls talk directly to the services handling the data. This keeps the data on the mashup the same as the data used by the services.
Certainly the Web is the largest influencer of software architecture and technology innovation since the LAN. SOA was highly influenced by said Web architecture. In turn, services have driven the unique course of Web innovation in recent years.
Take for example mobile development. Actually, take for example Sam Herron’s recent take on Android. He blogs: “I would like to position Android’s client interface with Calendar, Contacts, and Gmail as mobile SOA.” Check out his post. See what you think. Is this pushing the definition of ‘SOA’ too far? Click on ”Comments” to contribute.
For our part, we will reiterate: We think SOA has driven a whole lot of other technologies.
Android SOA – service oriented architecture – TheAndroidGuys, Sept 24, 2009
A long standing standards body is taking a stab at measuring SOA performance. The SPEC benchmark group is interested in hearing from people on this topic. Current SPEC member companies committed to developing a new SOA application measurement standard include IBM, Oracle and VMware. Continued »
by Rob Barry and Jack Vaughan
To get a view of how cloud computing may progress, one may look at the course of data grids and distributed caching. Boutique companies such as Appistry, GigaSpace, and DataSynapse have plied the parallel computing trade for a good while, and cloud computing seems a very natural next step.
Lesser known due to its roots in the narrower Microsoft software market is ScaleOut Software, which last month unveiled a Management Pack for its ScaleOut State Server that includes an object browser and parallel backup/restore capability intended to help architects and developers view, manage, and back up objects stored in its distributed cache. In recent releases, ScaleOut has expanded beyond .NET to support Java distributed applications as well. Continued »
by Jack Vaughan
We should know that no technology fits all jobs over all times. But I will admit I thought XML might come close. The ‘X’ stands for ‘eXtensible,’ after all, so it seemed to have a natural mechanism for adaptation.
The idea that it had data-centric, document-centric and program-centric uses was disarming. It was clear it was not a natural developer favorite, of course. It provided the impetus for Web services, SOA, RSS, bioinformatics and much more. But, like Pick or Fortran or other once-popular languages, it is conceivable that XML’s use will at some point decline. Continued »
Yahoo Technical Evangelist Christian Heilmann gave a talk at The Ajax Experience 2009 conference on using and offering data on the Web. He spent a good deal of the time plugging the Yahoo Query Language (YQL). But that was understandable. In YQL, Yahoo gave developers a way to let their applications talk to hundreds of popular APIs through a common language.
Heilmann’s message had a very open-source vibe to it. He expressed his hopes for a world where developers build mobile apps with WC3 widgets so cell providers would be forced to adopt standards. He spoke of a day when IE6’s reign of standards exceptions will end and top companies will let their developers engage in 24-hour creative open-hack sessions.
[Ed Note: Heilmann impressed this desk with his drive to use technology for community good. He has, for example, worked with ad hoc programmer teams to build more accessible web interfaces for disabled individuals.]
Great progress may yet be a ways off. But Heilmann’s point that smart Web application development involves tying in APIs that cut workloads in half did ring a note of wisdom.
“Like, why make a developer spend days in making a map to the office when you can just use the Google Maps API link?” Heilmann asked.
Now the world has services such as Google Maps for directions, Flickr for photos, Twitter for messaging, Facebook for social networking and countless others. This is the age of APIs; work smarter not harder.
According to Microsoft’s Soma Somasegar, the company released Doloto, a tool that analyzes Ajax application workloads and automatically performs code splitting of existing large web applications. The tool comes out of Microsoft’s research labs. Doloto is said to make pages more responsive by decreasing the initial download size of Ajax apps. These apps, if you haven’t noticed, are getting bigger and bigger, containing more and more lines of code.
According to Somasegar:
Developers down on code generation beware: Doloto not only profiles your code, it re-writes it.