Archive for the 'SOA' Category

Book Review: Web 2.0 Design Patterns – Must Read

I had the pleasure of reading the soon-to-be-published Web 2.0 Design Patterns, but am seriously late getting my thoughts out (sorry guys!). In short, this book is well worth the read.

Duane, James, and Dion captured a high-speed drive by of all things 2.0, carefully deconstructing all of the cool tools we’ve been having so much fun with recently. They setup the book with a dissection of some flagship Web 2.0 properties, and contextualization of key memes. Next they define applicable models for capturing Web 2.0 in a pattern language. One my favorite aspects of this chapter was the use of “low end” modeling techniques – such as concept maps, and HTML <meta> tags as a form of WSDL for simple HTTP services. Being an Agilist and a practicalist, I like to see less well refined techniques legitimized. In true 2.0 style, the authors use what works, not just what is academically proscribed.

But the core of the book is a pattern reference. As they state in the intro to that section, it’s not likely something you will read straight through – though it’s certainly well written enough to do so. Each pattern is appropriately brief, but still hangs meat off the bone enough to be useful. The landscape of defined patterns is broad, and oddly shaped. SOA and Mashup are patterns, as are Semantic Web and Microformats. This struck me oddly at first – maybe I was hoping for something more homogenous from a developer’s point of view. But the authors make it work. I have to admit it was amusing to see memes like SOA and SaaS reduced to a pattern template. (Though where is the missing reference to in the Known Uses for the SaaS pattern?) The authors also extract new patterns native to the Web 2.0 landscape that are very insightful: Participation-Collaboration and Asynchronous Particle Update are very well done.

This book has a definite place on my bookshelf. Useful reference to be sure, but I can also imagine using this as a tool for evangelizing inside a large enterprise. To convert some minds, a pattern-based description might give some of these approaches more legitimacy. But the simple descriptions, useful models, and thoughtful examples in any context will provide the basis for a common understanding of Web 2.0 techniques.

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Will the Real SOA Please Stand Up

Jon Udell’s post around a podcast he did is a great read – check out A conversation with Rohit Khare about syndication-oriented architecture.  I’m so much more interested in feed/syndication oriented architectures, rather than SOA.  Maybe that’s just because I’m a content nut, and haven’t had to deal with heavy transactional systems.

Or maybe it’s because I value loose coupling, lightweight aggregation, and mashability over process and governance woes, and never ending abstract specifications.

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An Actually Good Podcast On SOA

So I am woefully behind on all of my technology podcast listening ever since I discovered JapanesePod101. But if you have not already done so, you need to go out and listen to the RedMonk / NetManage podcast from RmR on Incremental SOA.

James and Cote talk to Archie Roboostoff of NetManage and actually discuss small scale, bottom up SOA implementations as a viable approach! It’s refreshing – though a meaty SOA strategy does require some amount of top down support, you can still have a get-things-done attitude and deliver.

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Getting to the Hard Facts About SOA

There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt around SOA these days. Many SOA discussions drift off into the ether due to poor definition or attempts to reify a meme rather than deal in the concrete.

Fortunately some folks are trying to clear the air and get down to the real SOA Facts.

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SOA turns web developers into mashup developers

Like many architects, I have been following the evolution of SOA for awhile now. One thing that has been sticking in my mind is what does SOA really mean for web development teams? The emerging answer is mashups.

There are a lot of very cool mashup apps, and the ground is still fertile. If you haven’t already, check out these sites:

GoogleMaps (or rather it’s API) is obviously the first major mashup player… there are links to more mashups and mashable APIs at Mashup Feed and some at Programmable Web.

Stephen O’Grady and James Governor have been talking up mashups for awhile now on their respective blogs, and they helped with invites to a very cool mashup event. I think the outcomes of this event will be interesting to digest, and will hopefully fertilize mashup ground even more (you have to have high hopes for an event that has Lessig on the waiting list.)

As enterprises convert more of their backend and middleware to services, and expose those services through REST and SOAP, this creates a great opportunity for a new direction on the front end. Web development teams used to building silo sites now have a fine collection of mashup material, and can extend service re-use into the presentation tier.

I think a lot of web developers are not sure what to make of SOA hype – trying to determine if they should just replace their rusting EJB middle tier with web services and consider themselves SOA-certified (the answer is no). Rather, web developers should start thinking about their own service-oriented presentation-tier needs and ensure those services are available (as in exposed) in both a server- and client-consumable fashion.

Web developers from the traditional server-oriented J2EE and .NET environments should also start boning up on rich internet application (RIA) technologies and architectures. Out of the gates it’s probably not the best idea to go wholesale into RIA with applications, but rather to augment existing sites and applications with asynchronous pagelets that mash in backend services – perhaps tagging would be a good place to start. But it might not be too long before developers inside enterprises can start to act like true mashers, using Agile methods to more quickly deliver working software that leverages services.

BPEL and service orchestration are the mash up tools for the integration tier, but Ajax and other RIA technologies are the mash up tools for the presentation tier. I think there will be a lot of additional demand on enterprise developers to become more client-savvy than they have had to be for the last several years.

I am interested to hear from any enterprise developers who have already started mashing…

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