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.
IBM engineer Ian Robinson has a noteworthy blog post concerning OSGi. He points out areas of interest, questions to be answered.
On the other hand is the question of just how OSGi features in the programming model for enterprise applications. What is the web component model? The persistence model? How does the vast landscape of existing Java EE components begin to take some advantage from OSGi?
Robinson goes on to say the OSGi Alliance Enterprise Expert Group (EEG) is looking at these questions, and just how common Java EE technologies are addressed in an OSGi environment.
[On this one, a nod to old SearchSOA friend Daniel Rubio.]
IBM is announcing a new set of professional services. They include IBM Smart Business Desktop on the IBM Cloud, IBM Mobile Enterprise Services for Managed Blackberry, and IBM Converged Communications Services.
As part of the push, IBM will feature a Jam – a large-scale webcast that will include participation by James Surowiecki, author of “The Wisdom of the Crowds.”
In the background, IBM is preparing another push on its Smarter Planet initiative, with a focus on the BPM and collaboration software fronts. ‘‘Collaboration’’ has been a watchword at the company’s Lotus group for a number of years but, increasingly, the collaboration is going to be posited within business processes.
There will be more handholding across the groups in IBM going forward, as the company goes to market with new vertical solutions.
Side note: Survey data disclosed by the company as part of the Smart Planet effort suggests that there is plenty of room for improvement in business processes. IBM estimates an average of 5.3 hours per employee per week is wasted because of inefficient processes. This figure somewhat dovetails with The Journal of Irreproducible Results data that suggests U.S. workers spent about 5 hours per week in recent months trying to figure out who would replace Paula Abdul on American Idol.