Microservices Matters

December 15, 2010  2:57 PM

UML 2.0 tools push MDA

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

By Kathleen Kriz

Modern modeling languages are constantly developing and changing – this includes the most prominent, the Unified Modeling Language (UML).  A 2.3 update to UML is supported by training and new tools from vendor No Magic, Inc.

Gary Duncanson, President and CEO of No Magic, said UML is a foundation to modern software development.
“UML is a basic knowledge that every architect out there must have,” said Duncanson. “You can’t claim to be an enterprise architect, a system engineer, a software developer that uses model-driven architecture (MDA).”

“UML is the gateway to all the other related specs, and all these other profiles are built on top of UML whether it’s for a system on a chip to system engineering to enterprise application integration, all those things are built on top of models, and the basic modeling element is UML,” he said.

Clarence Moreland, COO of No Magic, said UML 2.0 improves on predecessors.

“UML 1 to 1.5 didn’t fit the bill because there wasn’t enough granularity,” said Moreland. “The notation, the syntax of UML didn’t map at a low enough granularity to the syntax of the object-oriented programming languages it was designed to support code generation in.”

UML 2.0 is intended to address syntactic and semantic mismatches between object-oriented programming languages and UML, and will also broaden its applicability when it comes to expanding use from lower level to higher lever software engineering.

Yet, the primary reason UML 2.0 was created was to support model-driven architecture.

“A big driver for UML 2.0 was to be able to support OMG’s model-driven architecture initiative,” said Moreland. “The existing specification didn’t have the semantic richness necessary to support MDA so that was the primary driver.”

Older versions of UML are still being used, and according to Moreland, all versions of UML are backwards compatible, meaning it is possible to support UML 2.3 with UML 1.5.

One of the most prevalent concerns with UML among users is redundancy in the language.
“The biggest problem now is redundancy and also the complexity of the language as it grows to support broader applicability,” said Moreland. “But it is a general purpose modeling language so that’s given rise to domain-specific languages which are for the most part narrower, specialized versions of the UML.”

No Magic is also offering a free training course on UML 2.0 to help people to get trained and up to speed on modeling and on UML in particular, said Duncanson.

December 7, 2010  4:12 PM

JSON, XML and the Web

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

As Doug Crockford created JSON it became something of an antidote to XML. This was bound to happen, because the issues developers had with XML were so plentiful. JSON, of course, with an API that fit on a business card, was more than a counter-statement. It was a big success in the making. Twitter recently dropped XML from its API, and this caused a few ripples in the XML/JSON blogosphere. Check this bit on XML versus the Web from Ajaxian.

December 6, 2010  9:54 PM

Automating middleware deployments

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

When you wrap up increasingly sophisticated components to run in specific environments, the complicated hand-crafted scripting can become a burden. With this in mind, Netherlands-based XebiaLabs has created what it calls ‘deployment automation’ tools aimed at handling Java and related middleware.

Deployit integrates with build frameworks like Maven, continuous integration tools like Hudson and Bamboo, as well as with familiar CMDBs. Many tools like this are associated with Agile development, but successful rapid Agile development methods can break down if middleware deployment becomes a bottleneck, said Andrew Phillips, Vice President of Product Development at XebiaLabs. 

Cost is an issue too. Often these days, high salaried developers end up tasked to do day-to-day deployment for application servers, ESBs, message queues and the like.

“The situation with Continuous Integration tools is that 97% of code gets tested every day,” Phillips said. “But then the stuff sits in a repository somewhere. You need Continuous Deployment too.”

Phillips said XebiaLabs’ Deployit software uses a Unified Deployment model to ensure that deployments across different types of middleware are done consistently.

The software works through a graphical interface. “You take your deployment package and you drag it onto an environment,” he said.

With an ESB or portal that people have developed in a staging environment, the tools can extract and transform the deployment package so it can run in a different environment, according to Phillips. The software is described as ‘agentless’ and includes interfaces for tweaking deployments.

December 2, 2010  5:00 PM

D&B builds data-as-a-service on Informatica Cloud

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) has been providing credible credit information since the 1930’s. Many businesses and financial institutions rely on information from D&B to make credit decisions, guide their marketing efforts, and supplement their supply chain management. These organizations may soon have the ability to access this information on-demand from the cloud. D&B recently announced D&B360, a data-as-a-service (DaaS) system built on the Informatica Cloud. Informatica provides the back-end integration platform. They are focused on data integration, synchronization, and data quality services on-demand.

The DaaS system is intended to allow enterprise software providers to embed D&B data right in their applications, and is designed to integrate with existing software that uses commercial or professional contact data, like CRM or BI software. In addition, the press release announcing D&B360 states that it “integrates relevant, dynamic information from social media and news sources for a complete picture of businesses.” Which makes me think the DaaS system will automatically cross reference credit information about a business with news stories on the business as well as the business’s Facebook information, and maybe even tweets from the CEO.

November 30, 2010  4:45 PM

On graph databases, semantic data handling and WS-I

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

By Jack Vaughan

Let’s face it, sometimes what’s new is old, and – by the same token – what’s old is new.  Some recent stories belie that fact.

Let’s start with James Denman’s article on graph databases.  Although it has precursors, the graph data base is a relatively new type of store. It is a niche part of the “NoSQL” movement that has been driven by the success of massively scalable Google, Amazon and Facebook applications. My first reaction to NoSQL was negative, as I’d had a chance way back to cover the early object-oriented databases. These were often touted as “RDB killers.” But they never managed to unseat SQL. It took a while, delving into the NoSQL story to find that, yes, enough has changed to make the SQL alternative worth a look see by architects. Keep in mind, though, that “NoSQL” does not mean “NoSQL” – it means “Not Only SQL.”

XML arose at a time when organizations were only beginning to try to deal with unstructured data. Who knew that interest in ‘random’ text and snippets of data would come to hold sway over interest in the conventional columns and tables that defined data in those days? Unstructured, semantically rich data is now the most interesting to new age data miners, and, as you know, they ‘don’t need no XML’ to parse their way through it. DoD intelligence cullers and the like have been at this quite awhile, as writer Colleen Frye’s recent piece on SOA and semantics discusses.  Need for such capabilities have spread far beyond national security. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

It may be a footnote –  like the passing of a forgotten Hollywood film star of yore – but it is worth noting. The Web Services – Interoperability group shut down this month and handed future work over to the W3C. In its day, WS-I pushed Web services forward with the promise that big vendors would work together to make sure that their tightly coupled solutions had a genuine way of talking to outsiders via XML in a loosely coupled way.  They only succeeded up to a point, and opened the door for SOA.  Like only a few Hollywood stars in decline, they knew it was time to move on.

Yes, sometimes what’s new is old, and vice versa. But it is not recommended to take a jaundiced attitude here. One thing does not last always, especially in the technology sector.

November 23, 2010  4:54 PM

At AADI: Parasoft Concerto enforces SDLC policy

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

 A new version of Parasoft’s Concerto released at Gartner AADI Summit 2010 includes a policy layer. This does not cover SOA policy but instead relates to SDLC policy. Parasoft offers a Policy Center that can enforce peer code reviews, implement pattern-based static analysis and support flow-based static analysis. Associated tasks can be linked to measurements adhering to standards such as PCI-DSS or HIPAA, or to custom in-house rules. “With Concerto, we have integrated testing into the development process,” said Wayne Ariola, VP of Strategy, Parasoft. “It is no longer ad hoc usage.” Such software tools help development teams looking to marry agile processes to SOA, WOA and other application types. ” Making agile methods work in a sustainable fashion requires getting everyone on the same page working from the same playbook,  said Thomas Murphy research director, Gartner, in a prepared statement. This requires building common vocabularies and tools that enable collaboration and a quality-oriented development process, he continued.

November 19, 2010  4:27 PM

At AADI: SOA Software looks toward cloud governance

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

By Jack Vaughan

Another sign that SOA governance tools will play a role in cloud computing comes by way of an announcement that SOA Software has developed a suite of governance tools that build and run applications for the IBM WebSphere Business Services Fabric. WebSphere fabric products, the company told us in an interview at Gartner’s Application Architecture Integration & Development Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif., can run as part of heterogeneous environments sharing services with SOA platforms from companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat and SAP. “We believe SOA is a prerequisite for cloud,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO, SOA Software. If you use SaaS, he said, you will be exposing a set of services. Meanwhile, he continued, if you go to PaaS, you have to decompose your applications into components that are service enabled. “The data stays behind, but the application goes to the cloud,” said Farquharson.

November 18, 2010  4:49 PM

The World Wide Web celebrates its 20th anniversary

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

Some differ on when it was born, but by some measures the World Wide Web turned 20 last weekend. Tim Berners-Lee introduced his proposal for a “WorldWideWeb” to CERN on November 12, 1990. According to an article by Ben Zimmer in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine on the origin of the word “Web,”  the phrase World Wide Web was sort of a placeholder in the marketing strategy for Tim Burners-Lee and his colleague Robert Cailliau, who knew their hypertext link-based information management system was revolutionary, even though Berners-Lee’s previous proposal “had met with minimal internal interest.” The duo had apparently tried other names for the project, but had not found anything suitable so when the deadline came around they went with Berners-Lee’s working title. They figured they could come up with something better if and when the proposal was accepted. But they never did find anything that could beat the easy alliteration of World Wide Web.

But what’s in a name? If it wasn’t called the World Wide Web it would have gone by another title. Perhaps we would be working with “Internet Services” or “Graph Services” instead of “Web Services.” The principles behind Web services would still be the same, though. The real worth of the WorldWideWeb proposal was not in the name, but in the new concepts it set into motion. And Tim Berners-Lee has been guiding those concepts, promoting openness and interoperability via the internet for the past 20 years. So if you’re reading this Mr. Berners-Lee, thanks and keep up the good work from all of us at SearchSOA.com.

November 17, 2010  8:03 PM

ESB and more in cloud computing platform called “Stratos”

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

At Gartner’s AADI Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, WSO2 today discussed its recently launched “cloud middleware platform,” WSO2 Stratos 1.0, designed for implementing an enterprise SOA. The software is built on WSO2’s Carbon development platform, and it includes a host of open source middleware implementations supported by OSGi. For the purpose of cloud computing, the middleware elements are fielded as ‘services.’ Included are WSO2 Data Services as a Service, WSO2 Business Processes as a Service, WSO2 Business Rules as a Service, WSO2 Application Server as a Service, WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus as a Service and more. “You get a portal that creates tenants that comprise the middleware products as services,” said Jonathan Marsh, VP Marketing, WSO2. The ESB-in-the-cloud notion seems to gain more currency as time goes by. ESBs running on the cloud were rarely discussed when 2010 began. At this point, ESBs and cloud computing are frequently part of the same discussion.

November 17, 2010  3:51 PM

Sopera bought by Talend

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

Open source data management company Talend has acquired Sopera, a maker of open source SOA and middleware platforms. With this acquisition, Sopera is a wholly owned subsidiary of Talend, and is set to become its application integration division. The expanded offerings in application integration will put the company in competition with players such as TIBCO, Software AG and Progress Software. Talend has financial backing from investors that include Balderton Capital, which is led by a team including Bernard Liautaud, founder and ex-CEO of Business Objects. In a statement Liautaud indicated he was pleased to see Talend expand from the open source data management market into the broader middleware space.

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