Hmmm SOA

Being more resource-oriented than service-oriented, I approach this session with trepidation.

First up is Carol Jones from IBM to talk about a trio of software patterns for Web 2.0. The first is "Software as a Service" which has the following characteristics:

  • Service, not software
  • User-driven adoption
  • Value on demand
  • Low cost of entry
  • Public infrastructure
  • Most importantly... tight feedback loop between providers and consumers

This is followed by "Community Mechanisms"

  • Users add value
  • Recommendations
  • Social networking features
  • Tagging
  • User comments
  • Community rights management

The third pattern is "Simple User Interfaces and Data Services":

  • Easy to use, easy to remix
  • Responsive UIs (AJAX)
  • Feeds (Atom, RSS)
  • Simple extensions
  • Mashups (REST APIs)

Her feeling is that enterprises will prefer on-premise deployment so that even when you grey out the SaaS part of Web 2.0 then you still have something useful and new. All the syndication technologies work well in the enterprise because CIOs are dealing with backlog of applications... but more simple services would enable more people to get involved in building the applications in the company. Hey, I agree!

Carol now demos a system for organising projects and activities. Some features: can invite people to your project, but no strong access control; tagging; bookmarklet to add links to external pages to the system - tagged and assigned to multiple activities; you can post anything relevant to the activity sort of like a blog, e.g. chat logs.

Each activity is actually an Atom feed styled to HTML. Posting the content is just adding to the feed. No mention of APP but presumably this would be the main protocol. Wonder if this is using Queso? That would make it RDF under the hood :)

Next up is a Bob from American Express. They view Web 2.0 as primarily about improving the user experience and expanding convenience and reach by using RSS. They're trialling wikis internally and their approach is moving towards simplicity with REST interfaces

He talks on SOA - makes data more readily available but security integration is a challenge and Web 2.0 itself creates new challenges. Mashups can bring data to life though. They see an opportunity to simplify, to enable more functionality, more quickly and with lower cost.

He sees the following enterprise challenges for adopting Web 2.0 technology:

  • security - if we can't secure it we won't deploy it; protecting privacy and including identity in mashups
  • manageability, performance and scalability - overly complex integration; unpredictable throughput, capacity and difficult to monitor
  • development - fast and easy versus well designed and engineered; lack of standard development methods, tools and design patterns
  • business value - broad business value of social networking?
  • He emphasised that these are not criticisms but challenges that need to be overcome.

    Back to Rod Smith of IBM who puts up a slick enterprise-style slide showing SOA moving to Web 2.0 with all the tech buzzwords like Atom, RSS, XML, REST, Ajax, JSON. At the bottom was even the phrase "Web Oriented Architecture" - but he doesn't mention it :(

    What should businesses do? There are a whole bunch of applications that are not being written because current processes are slower than the speed at which businesses operate and make deals. He recommends a book Igniting the Phoenix which informs his viewpoint on this. Situtational software - build applications that meet an immediate business need and solve a small definable problem. I hope the point he is trying to make is that by adopting Web 2.0 techniques applications can become very cheap and easy to create since the levels of abstraction are right for reuse of data across the enterprise.

    So, I'm pleasantly surprised, which is great!


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