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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