Monthly Archives: November 2004

More Blog Thoughts

I spent a good portion of the weekend fixing a corrupt personal email file by copying the folders one by one to a new file until I discovered the entry that was causing the CRC redundancy check error – the same error that would halt my backup and freeze my entire system (I should probably file a problem report since freezing the system isn’t a very elegant way to handle an error that occurs while trying to copy a corrupt file).
While I waited for the copies to finish I poked around the ‘blogosphere.’ It’s amazing the stuff you come across. I read through all the recent entries and comments on Adam Bosworth’s blog, and followed some of the links to other blogs he posted. Adam’s blog is one that I really recommend, especially the transcript of his recent talk at ISCOC04 and all the commentary it fostered.
A lot of the discussion was around RDF and the Semantic Web, which I also think are not real technologies. To me the Semantic Web is an attempt at creating a document indexing system for the document management system that is known as the Web, nothing more or less.
I also poked around in Paul Downey’s blog for a while. I met Paul at the recent W3C policy workshop. And while he doesn’t blog much about his work, or the standards work he participates in, this one led me to the gaping void, which eventually led me to the cluetrain manifesto site — which kind of gets back to the reason for blogs in the first place.
I also decided to check some of the other blogs listed on the cluetrain site, and ended up at Dave Winer’s blog and from there at the Dawn and Drew show, which showed me what podcasting is all about. Dave’s entry for Saturday included a recording of the call he placed to Dawn and Drew.
I suppose videocasting will be the next thing, after we (all) get done personalizing the Web with blogs and podcasts…
I think there’s a lot to the Cluetrain that’s worth thinking long and hard about. The Web is changing geography, publishing, and markets. It is also changing how we communicate with each other, and how corporations communicate with individuals. I am a big believer in moving toward informal, honest, and open communications among colleagues and with customers. I am interested in the aspect of blogs that makes you put yourself out there and get reactions and comments – it’s not always pretty but it seems magical when it works.
I find myself moving from searching for news items to searching for blog entries. The formal style of journalism and academic articles seems to present obstacles to communication when compared to blogs and podcasts. But I wonder whether this will all get formalized, too.
Already you can see a wide variety of styles in blogging, from Dave Winer’s very journal-like approach (which others share in varying degrees) to a more occasional thoughtful posting like Adam Bosworth’s. And a lot of more or less official blogs, some on company sites (like ours is) and others on completely independent sites like Chris Ferris’s.
Saturday night I went to bed writing blog entries in my head, and practicing up for my podcasts….
And finally, I want to thank everyone very, very much for reading this blog, for posting comments when you do, and for mentioning to me that you do when I meet you in person. Let’s keep it all going!

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Gartner Web Services & Integration Conference

“and now, ladies and gentlemen, just back from an extensive tour of the Far East, Africa, and the subcontinent…”
Well, just back from the Gartner conference in Florida, anyway, which sure feels like another world when there’s already snow on the ground here in the Boston area.
One of the highlights was Roy Schulte’s keynote the first morning (sorry, but the only link I could get is to the entire conference agenda), in which he identified the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) as the next wave in middleware. Roy said that everyone will need one for use in future integration projects, and he provided a list of ESB vendors, IONA among them.
More than 160 people attended my talk on Tuesday, and we had another pretty good crowd for the SOA and Events panel on Wednesday.
I have to say that I do not consider events as something distinct from services, though, and look forward to the day when Gartner combines their SOA and event driven architecture (EDA) paradigms.
I was also personally very pleased to hear Gartner refer to WS-CAF as “one of the three advanced Web services specs to watch” at OASIS! Especially since we have just successfully advanced WS-Context to OASIS Committee Draft, and held an interop demo at XML 2004 with Oracle and Arjuna.

SOA Thoughts

Well, Greg and I are coming down to the wire here with our SOA book. We just got the page proofs to check – not a fun task, I can tell you. But the benefit is going over the material again.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember things very well that I wrote a couple of months ago…maybe I’m just getting old. Anyway, it’s good to read the chapters again since there really is a lot of detail, and a lot of information there.
A couple of months ago, while everything was still fresh in my mind, I had a chance to talk with Alice LaPlante at Web Services Pipeline and respond to several questions about SOA.
I thought they were pretty good questions about the strategic value of SOA, the kind of ROI that may be possible, how you should think about an SOA, and the role of standards.
The most important thing that pops out while reviewing the page proofs is that service orientation and SOA require a change in thinking more than anything else. And with that a change in how IT departments might be organized, the roles people play in adapting technology to the requirements of business – it’s natural that these things should change as technology changes, but it’s not always obvious since we all tend to view new things through the filter of what we already understand.
To me it’s also important to realize that the change in technology represented by XML and Web services is significant because of a change in the overall IT environment and supporting software industry. I think we are entering a phase of refinement rather than innovation.
The most significant inventions are over. Some would call this the “end of software.” But only as we know it. Software will continue. But we are not likely to have any new languages, or see any significant new inventions. Twenty years ago no one knew what a database was, or middleware, or Java. But now I think innovation like that has stopped because IT doesn’t need it any more.
IT needs refinement of what we have already invented – it needs cheaper, commodity software and technology-independent interoperability solutions. This is motivating the trend toward Web services and SOA – to get more out of current investments – as well as signaling the need for a change in thinking.

On Blogging

Blogs are really getting popular. I saw a press release yesterday announcing a new blog by Jeff Tonkel. Since when was a new blog a news item?
I also see news items about blogs, like the one about Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. “He’s been doing it again,” runs the teaser in the email from Sys-Con, “blogging that is.”
So now it’s news that someone new is blogging, and that someone already blogging has added a new entry. To be fair I guess the thrust of the Jonathan Schwartz story is about what’s in his blog related to the hot topic of open sourcing Java.
To me blogging is still something relatively new. I mean I’m often trying out new things. I think of a blog a lot like a journal, and have tried posting blogs about what I’ve been doing and where I’ve been.
Today I’m in San Francisco, for example, at the Paolmar Hotel. My room overlooks the Virgin Megastore and the Apple Store, and around lunchtime today I visited both. Boy, those iPod accessories are pricey. At the Megastore I found a copy of a Johnny Otis CD for $9.99. How could I resist?
Other times I’ve written about things I’ve been thinking about. I’ve gotten myself in trouble at least twice writing about things without adequate research. Part of the difficulty, of course, is that if you start a blog you have to keep up with it, and like any other regular column, comic strip, or TV show, you are always having to come up with new ideas. So I may pull an old idea out and write about it without taking the time to update my thinking, or try to think of something controversial to say that will get my blog noticed among all the other blogs out there.

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