Monthly Archives: April 2007

WSTC – all Jazzed up

For the final morning of the conference, I attended a talk on Jazz by Scott Rich. It was another talk with a live demo – very cool to see the technology actually running.

Jazz is an extensible and scalable collaboration platform for the development cycle. It has a client/server architecture and runs on either an open source stack of Tomcat + Derby + Jabber, or an IBM one (potentially others I suppose, but that’s sheer speculation).

Several announcements were made around the middle of last year, and the Jazz site is out there in the open. There was some information about it at the RSDC talks last year. You’ll find analysts talking about it already.

The demo was extremely neat. Again, this is building REST, RSS/Atom, a rich web UI (as well as the Eclipse one) into the platform. I can’t say too much at this stage, but it would be worth getting involved in the Jazz community site if you want to know more.

Do I sound excited about it? It looked great. I can’t wait to see this start to appear in the open.

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WSTC – oriented to the Web

Although SOA has been a huge part of the discussion at WSTC, another term that people are increasingly also mentioning is “WOA” – Web Oriented Architecture. I did a little research and found that it’s not a completely new term. It seems to me to be complementary to SOA on the user experience end of things.

As a follow-on from the Dojo session I attended on Tuesday, on Wednesday I went along to a couple of very interesting talks. The first was by Jason McGee who talked a lot about topics like REST, Ajax and so on. In the afternoon, Matt Perrins talked about the best tools for building Web 2.0 applications.

Matt started off with coverage of what the concepts and principles are around Web 2.0 – describing the core competency of a good Web 2.0 company as “treating users as co-developers”. We’ve been looking at SOA, SOAP, WSDL, J2EE, .NET etc with the enterprise for some time now… and now the key content – the data – is being exposed via ATOM, JSON, and Plain Old XML, enabling a lot more agility on the user interface. He went on to cover Ajax, REST and JSON in a little more detail.

IBM contributed the Ajax Toolkit Framework to Eclipse. This contains a Javascript debugger, and supports various of the popular frameworks like Dojo, with a “personality builder” that allows new ones to be added. I’m looking forward to checking this out in more detail and looking at some of the Flash demos.

Another useful key tool is, of course, Firebug. This is great for the client side of development, but it is disconnected from the server side, so although ATF isn’t quite as rich in some respects, it can be helpful since it allows a developer to look at both sides of the application, resulting in less context-switching.

The Adobe JSEclipse tool is supposed to be very good as well – according to Matt, it is better than the one in ATF at the moment. I’ll have to check it out.

One of the most interesting aspects of all of this is how the Web 2.0 technologies and techniques were mentioned in a whole range of presentations this week. Quickr has a nice dynamic UI and is using REST in many of the document management functions on the backend. I’ve seen Dojo UIs demonstrated in various new tools. Exciting stuff.

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WSTC – Rational Application Developer 7

I didn’t get the chance to sit through this introductory talk in full, but I did jot a few notes down. I haven’t been able to use RAD v7 yet – these notes are probably not news to most people, but they were of interest to me.

Due to various improvements, RAD 7 has better size and performance characteristics than 6. It is based on Eclipse 3.2.1 running on JDK 5.

The Web Diagram view has been completely redesigned and enhanced.

Ajax is supported inasmuch as the JSF components have Ajax behaviours and do not force page reloads. Graphical portlet development is supported.

The XML Schema editor by default attempts to restrict choices to guide users towards best practices in creating schema definitions – the advanced view exposes all schema functions.

WSTC 2007 – broker and Java

I missed part of Peter Crocker’s session on Advanced Java Topics in WMB v6 yesterday, but when I did manage to get in there, I learned a few useful snippets. Essentially this was an update of his talk from last year, and riffed off of his developerWorks article on the use of Java in Message Broker.

A few of the notes I made:

  • although the product ships a sample JavaCompute node that calls a Google API, Google themselves have now withdrawn the API, so the sample doesn’t work 😦
  • it is important to be careful with the use of XPath… for example, try to avoid using the // selector as it is usually not the most performant way to select a message element. There should be some articles around on XPath, I need to look up some useful references.
  • The latest fixpack enables Java code in a JavaCompute node to propagate to a label in the flow.

Useful stuff to be aware of!

WSTC 2007 – certification

As with last year’s WSTC, IBM’s certification testing team have been running almost round-the-clock tests. We’ve been entitled to take three tests each so it has been worth taking advantage of the opportunity. The testing room has been constantly busy.

Yesterday, I passed test 664 on SOA Fundamentals, and first thing this morning I took and passed test 665, Architectural Design of SOA Solutions – making me an IBM Certified SOA Associate and SOA Solution Designer.

In both cases the tests were sufficiently challenging to make me think, and well focussed. I didn’t do any additional studying in either case, but obviously I have been working in this domain for the past few years. Reading Sandy Carter’s book recently has been a good reminder of how things fit together, too.