Monthly Archives: September 2005

Microsoft MVP

Someone nominated me to be a Microsoft MVP and in July the nomination was approved. So now I am one.
A week ago I was in the middle of an open source meeting. This morning I heard from Steve Ballmer (under NDA so I can’t share details) about competing with Linux, Firefox, Google, and Yahoo among other things. It is a good thing I have long ago learned to multi thread and partition my brain 😉
No one I’ve talked with seems to know exactly how this happened. The advice I get is to accept the honor and enjoy its benefits. I definitely am enjoying the free MSDN subscription!
I have to say I was impressed with Ballmer, personally, and with how he conducted himself in front of the 1500 MVPs who made the trek to Redmond.
But the highlight for me was Allchin’s presentation on Vista. He spent a lot of time discussing improvements in development and testing procedures (acknowledging but not exactly endorsing the WSJ article on the topic) that gave me a lot of confidence in what they’re doing. The big question is how far up the “stack” these things go. Meaning will they apply to the integration between Indigo and Visual Studio, for example. Then he spent some time demo’ing the major new features. If anyone can get the job done he will.
This afternoon we are promised (in about ten minutes or so) a presentation from my old friend Don Box. It is always interesting to hear what he has to say, and he is a great presenter.
ps another highlight of the morning was a video with Bill Gates and Napoleon Dynamite.

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Audioslave Concert

During a break in the Synapse meeting Friday, I started checking the Web for for music in San Francisco over the weekend.
I was very happy to discover that Audioslave was going to be here Sunday (last night), with tickets still available no less. So I immediately bought one. (Actually it wasn’t even sold out by showtime, which I just can’t believe.)
It was a general admission show, and even though I didn’t go down to the main floor until after the second opening act finished , I couldn’t believe how close I could get to the stage. It was absolutely great.
The Chronicle did not review the show, although they did have a review of the sold out Green Day show at SBC Park Saturday night. While I really also like Green Day, and think American Idiot deserved to win best album at last year’s Grammys (sorry Ray but you know I do love you too), they are just not in the same league.
Chris Cornell is a genius, which was apparent during his acoustic encore. (Also check out the Wikipedia entry on him.) And the rest of the band are tremendous musicians, which was well apparent when they came back onstage behind him to complete the encore. I don’t care what category you put it in, this is real rock ‘n’ roll.
But what is it with the cell phones and ear plugs among the younger generation fans?
As a postscript, among the sad losses from Katrina is the death of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. (Check this Metafilter entry on him.)
One of my real favorite albums is Professor Longhair’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Gumbo, featuring Gate on almost every track. I don’t know a better version of “Jambalaya.” He will be missed. It just seemed like he was going to go on forever.

Synapse F2F

As I always say, travel wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to leave home to do it.
After getting to be at home for a couple of days I headed out to Cupertino for the Synapse project face to face, hosted by Infravio.
It’s very nice weather out here in California, and it is really pretty cool being in the room with the other Synapse project members from Sonic, Infravio, Blue Titan, and WS02 (who by the way has a cool T-shirt out).
The notes are being captured as we go along, so if you are reading this before the end of the meeting (about 5 pm Pacific time Saturday Sept. 24), check back for further information.
We spent the first afternoon on background, including presentations on Celtix and Axis2. It seems like everyone is doing the call chain interceptor architecture these days… 😉
It is becoming clear, as the Synapse project wiki shows, that the focus of this effort is on intermediation, and what can happen in the space between the service requester and provider. Intermediaries have existed on the Web for a long time, and now we are thinking about introducing them to the middleware space.
SOAP 1.2 introduced an intermediary model, derived as I understand it from an interest in leveraging deployed Web intermediary infrastructure, but I do not know of other projects really implementing the model.

Celtix Milestone 1

I am very happy to report that our Celtix team has completed Milestone 1, and the results are available for download.
Please check it out and let us know what you think!

eGov Enterprise Architecture Conference

Before David Chappell injured himself in a water skiing accident, I was to have shared the podium with him yesterday at the eGov Enterprise Architecture Conference and Exhibition in Washington. (And I must say Ronald Regan certainly has a nice building named after him.)
Bill Wood ably filled in for Dave, and Dave managed to help finish up the presentation, even if we were working on it at the last minute ;-).
It was a 3-hour tutorial on understanding SOA and government applications. Bill and I took turns. The way we divided it up I started by talking generally about SOA, then Bill gave a generic description of the Enterprise Service Bus.
I don’t want to start another argument but I thought it only fair that Sonic got to talk about the ESB since if they didn’t invent the term they certainly at least have done the most to promote it.
After that we each took turns talking about our respective technical solutions to the requirements of SOA infrastructure – this is the easiest and best way to summarize what an ESB is. But the devil is in the details and Sonic and IONA have implemented the ESB concept in different ways. And that was what we each took a turn explaining.
At the end of the session we raffled off two copies of my book, Understanding SOA with Web Services and Dave’s book on the ESB (which complement each other nicely by the way).
Judging from the questions we got, I would say that a lot of government agencies are still struggling a bit with how to approach an SOA the best way. I got the same impression at the Deutsche Post conference in Germany. My feeling is that we (as an industry) have gone past the stage at which the idea of an SOA is debated (i.e. is it a good thing or not) and we are now at the stage where we are debating the best way forward.
One final comment here: wouldn’t it be a great thing if all vendors could agree on a common definition of an ESB? And just start creating value add on top of it?
One thing that may help is the collaboration with Sonic and others in the Synapse open source project. Between that and the Celtix open source project (which just reached its first milestone by the way), and our various collaboration in standards bodies, perhaps we will get closer to that point.

SOA Technology Days – Germany

One thing I remember, being in Germany again, from when I spent the summer here in 1971, is that people eat a lot of soup. So I’ve had soup with about every meal, excepting breakfast of course, and it’s been a great little bit of nostalgia. Calvin Trillin would be proud.
The occasion for my visit was an invitation to present one of the theme tracks at the Deutsche Post SOA Days 2005 Technology Conference at the DP tower in Bonn.
Unfortunately I haven’t kept up with my German language skills very well so I could not completely understand all the presentations. It is hard because I don’t get much chance to practice. But I could understand a good percentage (most of the slides were in English, and after all, the technology is language independent), and my IONA colleagues helped me out as well. One thing is clear – people in Germany are already doing SOA, and many more are interested.
It really was a great conference, and I want to thank Dr. Johannes Helbig and Michael Herr for inviting me and making me feel so welcome. It is really great to work with them and their colleagues on achieving reality for their corporate SOA program.
The conference demonstrates DP’s leadership in SOA not only for Germany but also worldwide. DP now does a lot of global business through its DHL subsidiary and other initiatives in the logistics industry. And of course their SOA initiative is integral to this growing competition in the worldwide marketplace.
In addition to SOA case studies from DP we heard about another successful SOA implementation from Sparkasse bank. Both cases clearly illustrated the value of SOA investment.
It is very important that customers take an active role in promoting SOA like this, and in guiding the vendor community. Left to their own devices, vendors have no motivation to figure out the best, vendor-independent approach to SOA. By definition they are focused on competing with each other. And if an SOA isn’t vendor independent, it doesn’t really achieve its true value.
Vendor independence means the ability to better combine software from multiple suppliers and achieve “best of breed” among specialists – not to mention a better price, since dependency on a single source for any corporate supply is never a good idea.
And the existence of standards by itself isn’t enough. It took Henry Ford’s unwavering insistence with his procurement dollars, for example, to finally achieve conformance to interchangable parts standards among his suppliers and improve his manufacturing process. And of course everyone knows how the world was changed by the mass production of the Model T as a result.
The remainder of the conference covered a lot of practical topics around how to get started with SOA, how to deal with organizational, skill set, technology, and architectural issues.
I am looking forward to returning soon, for more soup, and to hear more about SOA and its success in Germany, and worldwide.

Upcoming IONA Webcasts

I just wanted to briefly point out our upcoming Webcast series.
I think I probably need to do an entire entry about “What is an ESB” since there are so many definitions out there, but for now I will just take the easy way out 😉 and say that the Webcast series will include a lot of information about a good approach to an ESB that is decentralized, distributed, and very economical to adopt.