Service Oriented Enterprise

Saturday, January 03, 2004

You and Your Research  

An excerpt from, "You and Your Research" by Dr. Richard Hamming:

Now, how did I come to do this study? At Los Alamos I was brought in to run the computing machines which other people had got going, so those scientists and physicists could get back to business. I saw I was a stooge. I saw that although physically I was the same, they were different. And to put the thing bluntly, I was envious. I wanted to know why they were so different from me. I saw Feynman up close. I saw Fermi and Teller. I saw Oppenheimer. I saw Hans Bethe: he was my boss. I saw quite a few very capable people. I became very interested in the difference between those who do and those who might have done...

posted by jeff | 12:40 PM

The Microsoft Drug  

I just ran across a great presentation from Todd Proebsting of Microsoft. The following statement seems to sum up the MS philosophy:

posted by jeff | 12:26 PM

2004 Hot Technologies List  

It is time once again for me to make my predictions about the hot new technologies for 2004. Dominating this years list are items related to web services and alternative programming styles. Perhaps this is a prediction list - or maybe it is just my personal wish list...

1. Programming Model Convergence - The convergence and interlacing of the various programming models will likely surface to the top spot in 2004. As software vendors and enterprise customers consider their service oriented architectures, object oriented systems, aspects, model-driven architectures, integrated development environments and the other programmer facing technologies, they will find an inconsistent mess of technologies. 2004 will be a year of cleaning up the mess, both for ISV's as well as for the enterprise architects.

2. RFID - Already a hot topic, RFID is quickly becoming the "Y2K" of 2004. With the US-DOD and Walmart mandating the use of the technology, we will see the price of the tags and equipment tumble, opening up opportunities for new cost-sensitive applications.

3. Service Fabric - 2003 saw the introduction and early adoption of this enterprise enabling technology. In 2004 we can expect to see the infrastructure of web service networks continue to unfold. Look for less emphasis on "web service management" (reactive software) and more emphasis on intelligent service fabrics that proactively resolve quality related issues. Also look for the ESB to continue to gain ground, but eventually to be rolled into a small handful of services that the fabric handles. Lastly, it is likely that the protocol vendors and the fabric-via-service vendors collide, with the winner being the group that manages to pull protocols and services into a single product line.

4. SIP-based Enterprise Messaging - Many advanced organizations currently use instant messaging as a core communication vehicle. However, mainstream business has not yet adopted the technology. I believe that 2004 will be a chasm-crossing year for IM in the enterprise. Corporations will likely bring IM servers in house for security reasons - eventually, it will be granted a similar role as email.

5. WS-* Rosetta Intermediary - As web services continue to be adopted, a new breed of protocol translation service will emerge. This service will act as an intermediary that resolves differences between protocols introduced by vendor one-offs, competing standards and versioning. This technology will have a similar role that the 'gateway' or 'bridge' had in early LAN environments, only it will focus on the web service protocols. (Note: this topic is not related to Rosetta-Net)

6. IP telephony - Although this is far from being a new technology, I am predicting that 2004 is an adoption year. The number of vendors offering the service has increased as well as the functionality of the implementations. We are also starting to see a market emerge for VOIP add-on products.

7. Independent Invocation Models - Most invocation models are platform / language specific. 2004 will be a breakthrough year where the invocation model is viewed as a platform independent artifact. Just as WSDL created a platform independent entity for describing the server side interface, we will see new entities created for describing the client side invocation scheme. Concepts from WSIF will be leveraged, but the mechanisms will be ages ahead of what are currently available.

8. Presentation Offerings - For the last several years, the browser has dominated as the primary presentation (UI) vehicle for applications. In 2003, a handful of startups and established players built early versions of alternative user interfaces. Look to 2004 to see a real fight for adoption of these next-gen user interfaces.

9. Advanced SOAP Foundations - Much of the work that has been accomplished in the SOAP space has laid a foundation for the normal use cases. 2004 will usher in more advanced uses of SOAP including multicast SOAP, in-proc soap, async soap, etc. In addition, we will see the ws-* specifications enter into the mainstream. In many cases, SOAP will start to be viewed as a semi-static, standalone document with editable fields that can be routed to a destination specified by its header.

10. Disconnected PM's - The Internet and the web has most programmers thinking in a 'connected-only' manner. However, with the release of SDO many Java programmers (in addition to their .Net ADO counterparts), will begin designing systems with disconnected programming models. This will eventually lead to XML encoded formats that leave a time based change history that will be leveraged by both the .Net and the J2EE platforms. This technology will re-introduce batch style off-loading of non-time sensitive data and force synchronization vendors to become compatible with the newer technologies, thus creating some level of interoperability in data synchronization.

One underlying theme that may be noted is that many of the 'hot technologies' are still at the conceptual level and many of them are buried deep in the technology stack. As packaged applications like SAP have matured, we are finding that completely new paradigms are needed to bring a new level of functionality. The technologies that were nurtured over the last couple of years and are slated for release in 2004 will offer new programming shifts and ultimately will lead to a whole new generation of applications.

posted by jeff | 7:42 AM

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Is the JCP obsolete?  

Richard Monson-Haefel, a man who has seen Java from the beginning responds to an interesting question, "Is the JCP (Java Community Process) obsolete?

Richard defends it.

Perhaps it is no surprise that I think that Richard is dead wrong and that the JCP is largely obsolete. The Java game used to be about creating enough mass for wide spread adoption of a platform (J2SE, J2EE, J2ME, etc.) Well, this has already happened. And more importantly, a couple of vendors (IBM and BEA) have come out on top.

Richard states, "The truth is, IBM and BEA need the JCP. Neither of these companies could go it alone, outside the JCP. " IMHO, this is one of the most naive statements I've heard in a while. IBM and BEA realize that they the competition isn't Sun, Oracle or Geronimo - it is Microsoft. And as long as they have the JCP dragging their innovation cycles they will be competing in an uphill battle.

So, is the JCP obsolete? My answer is - partially. It is obsolete when the IBM / BEA need it to be. There will continue to be many technologies that aren't critical path that can be run through long laborious debates (aka, jcp). But, for those technologies that are core to competing against Microsoft, I anticipate (and hope) that they take the quickest path with the least drag on the innovation cycle.

posted by jeff | 8:47 AM

Sunday, December 28, 2003

The Perils of Predictions  

I'm writing my 2004 hot technology list at the same time that I'm outlining a paper on converging programming models. I'm quickly reminded of the perils of predictions...

Hmmm... perhaps the "Constraint Based Enterprise" ? ;-)

posted by jeff | 8:54 AM

Top 10 Technologies of 2003  

Last year at about this time, I posted my top 10 technologies for 2003. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my calls.

1. Business Process Execution Language (BPEL)
Yep, still a good call. In 2003, it became apparent that BPEL won the digital process language war. Look for adoption in 2004.

2. Web Services II / GXA
This referred to the ws-* stack. Good progress was made on standards - not much adoption.

3. Microsoft .Net
This was an easy call. MS .Net kicks ass - however their long development cycles on the tooling isn't helping.

4. Flash MX
OK, this one didn't really happen to the extent that I was predicting. Instead, I believe that we are seeing a general trend towards richer functionality user interfaces, some leveraging xml or web services.

5. Industry XML Standards
This one did OK, but could have done much better. I think that many of the standards bodies advanced their specifications and cleaned up their schemas.

6. Business Process Management (BPM)
OK, this was a bad call. BPM has sucked wind due to the 'architecture in a box' syndrome. BPEL with MDA will help.

7. Portlets
Portlets did get off the ground - but no where near what I'd hoped. Perhaps next year?

8. Total Value of Opportunity (TVO)
Bad call. Does Gartner even promote this? It sure seemed like a good idea...

9. Software Asset Reuse
Terrible call. Software asset reuse requires a major change in the programming model.

10. Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)
OK, this one actually got a bit of traction. However, I'm not sure if it was hype or actual usage.

HELP - I'm running out of time! I still have to write my top 10 enterprise software technologies for 2004. If you have ideas, please send them to me: jschneider AT momentumsoftware DOT com.

posted by jeff | 8:11 AM