Tag Archives: community

Message Broker goes Hyper with new updates

I’m excited. About a week ago we released the latest update to WebSphere Message Broker, version 7.0.0.2 (also known as fixpack 2 for version 7), as well as the new Hypervisor Edition of the product.

Version 7 and “what’s new”

I’ve mentioned the new drops of WMB in passing during the year, and I’ve spoken about them in detail as I’ve visited customers and conferences during 2010. So far though, I don’t think I’ve written about it at length this year. Considering I’ve written developerWorks articles and Redbooks on the subject in the past, it’s something of an omission that I need to fix! The version 7 release has had four overarching themes: Universal Connectivity for SOADynamic Operational Management; Platforms, Environments, and Performance; and (perhaps most importantly) Simplicity and Productivity.

I said I was excited, and that’s for two reasons, I think. Firstly, as a technical integration developer, I’m constantly interested in the new function being introduced to enhance the capabilities of the product – I’ll list out a few of those in a moment, but the number of new nodes and functions that have been added to enable you as a developer to get at your information, connect to your services and endpoints, and transform your messages, is just fantastic. Secondly, under that theme of Simplicity and Productivity, the product has been hugely streamlined, and with the usability enhancements and patterns support that have been added, it is faster than ever to get going even as the function becomes richer.

There’s too much to talk about that has dropped into the product capabilities since version 7 became available just over a year ago, but to whet your appetite you’ll find that the 2 updates in 2010 included solidDB support, CORBARequest nodes, a DatabaseInput node, FTE nodes for coordinating or responding to file transfers in WMQ FTE, EmailInput and FileRead nodes, a JSON parsing domain and RESTful web service examples, performance profiling, JDEdwards nodes… this is a team that never stops delivering fantastic, high-quality content. The WMB 7.0.0.2 release notes and details are available on the IBM Support pages, you can check out MGK’s summary of the release at MQSeries.net, or you can jump to the What’s New section in the Infocenter to catch up on 12 months of enhancements!

Patterns and Communities

One of the big items that has been delivered in version 7 has been Patterns – the ability to take a predefined operation or template, fill out a few parameters to customise it for your environment, and deploy a working set of message flows. Ant Phillips has just blogged about the enhancements in patterns authoring in the latest release, and the creation of the new Patterns Community which is over at MQSeries.net. If you saw Ant at any of our conferences this year you’ll know what a great speaker he is and how cool the demos of this technology are.

I’m excited about this, as I know it can help to maintain consistency, learn good practices, and speed along development – isn’t it much easier to build something when you have a framework to follow? I know one of the first things I tend to do when learning something is to look for a good example, and then as a good citizen I like to share what I’ve done to help others, when I can. If you’re a Broker developer I hope you’ll be keen to share and learn within that community. I know Ant and the rest of the team will be eager to listen to your feedback, as they have been doing actively for the past couple of years. There is a nice introductory article on how to create your own patterns on developerWorks. Get contributing!

By the way, I love this paragraph from Ant’s post announcing the community, as it echoes and reinforces what I’ve been talking about in my role as WebSphere Messaging Community Lead. I’m sure he won’t mind me borrowing it:

With this in mind you might be interested in a new global pattern community – mqseries.net has added a pattern community where you can find, download and share patterns. We will be putting some very cool example patterns up over the next few weeks to help get it started. Why mqseries.net? Well communities are all about people, and mqseries.net is where the Broker community go to find answers.

Hypervisor Edition

The final thing I want to mention is that WebSphere Message Broker can now be deployed into a virtualised environment from the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance. This is cool, particularly when you start to see some of the tie-ins with things like patterns and scripting which enable you to customise the broker instances. A video is worth at least another three paragraphs of waffle though, so I’ll hand over to my colleagues…

Enjoy.

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A Smarter Planet needs lightweight messaging

One of the primary things I’ve been working on this year has been IBM’s new WebSphere MQ Telemetry product. I say “new”, of course, but the underlying technologies – WebSphere MQ itself, and the MQTT protocol which takes the messaging infrastructure down to the edge of the network and into embedded devices – have both been around, and totally solid, for a number of years already, but they have only recently formally been brought together into a single package. MQTT is short for MQ Telemetry Transport, and I wrote about it a couple of months ago in a post where I referred to it as a Smarter Planet protocol.

I’ve done quite a bit of travelling and talking to IBM customers and communities this year, and that’s recently been recognised and formalised into (part of) my new role in Hursley where I’m the WebSphere Messaging Community Lead. What does that mean? Well, the product part is in the first two words – I’m looking at the MQ family of products (something I’ll be writing about a bit more in the near future). The most important part, though is that third word – Community. My primary focus is working with, listening to, and helping to develop the community – and linking that back in to what we do in our labs. Community, for me, means people: developers, administrators, architects, partners, and the overall ecosystem that surrounds WebSphere MQ. We’ve got some great third-party sites out there, some brilliant content that gets published through IBM Redbooks and developerWorks, and our support teams blog about the topic, but we can always do better and I’m looking forward to finding ways of socialising our content and the materials produced by others.

A great first step towards that is our new IBM Expert network on Slideshare, which Adam Christensen wrote about recently, enabling us to share content as IBMers in a more “social” manner. I had a bunch of presentations up there already, but it was high time that I contributed some material more from my specialist technical subject area. I’ve now done so 🙂

This was a quick presentation I gave at an Apache Retreat that was held at IBM Hursley a couple of months ago. It’s a cut-down version of the full talk I’d usually give on the topic, tailored to the audience to keep it relevant to that community rather than diving into the enterprise part of the story and listing out case studies etc.. This is an important point, as the MQTT ecosystem is very much about the developer community and the opportunity to embed a reliable and lightweight messaging protocol into devices like smartphones, sensors, routers and edge-of-network boxes. It’s one of the reasons why IBM has published the specification for royalty-free implementation, and we’re seeing some exciting (and sometimes unexpected!) things happening as folks build their own client APIs. If your application or library is implementing that specification then your devices or applicaitons could, ultimately, bridge up into an Enterprise Service Bus running on the MQ infrastructure, and all the backend power that exists in clouds and enterprise datacentres today can start to do clever things with the data. Predictive analytics, visualisations, better prioritisation of resources… the reliability of transport for the data and the ability to get down to the smallest devices is vital.

[ related aside – shout-out to Nick for the lovely visual on slide 18 of this deck which I failed to credit within the presentation where I originally put it together in a bit of a rush. It’s from his page for the Arduino library for MQTT ]

There’s always more to say in this space, but I hope the presentation provides an overview of how the Smarter Planet story bridges the ideas of Service Oriented Architecture and The Internet of Things, and the part that MQTT plays within that. In the future you can expect to hear me talking more in this space, and I should be giving talks at Home Camp 3 in London in a couple of weeks’ time, as well as at LinuxConf Australia in Brisbane in January. I look forward to meeting more people and discussing the whole messaging story in more detail!

Yammer? Really?

ibm-yammer.pngI noticed a bit of an upsurge in followers on Yammer in the past couple of days. Concurrently, I also noticed that there appears to be a campaign on Facebook at the moment reminding folks of the existence of Yammer. It seems as though the campaign is mining my user profile information to identify a company network to advertise at me.

I’m generally an early adopter, as regular readers of my blog will know. I joined Yammer in the initial landrush… but I’ve barely used it, despite a desktop AIR client and an iPhone app being launched to make access and use of the service a lot easier.

What’s the issue? Well, for me, there are two fundamental problems:

  • it’s a service hosted outside of the corporate firewall, and yet encouraging me to write about “what [I’m] working on”. I do realise that some organisations will not have an issue with this, but in our case, I can’t go posting confidential information to servers outside the company. It’s the same reason that we’ve had internal virtual worlds and social computing guidelines for a long time. Ultimately it’s the same reason why we have homegrown internal microblogging options, although we do also use external services like Twitter where confidential information is not at risk (and my preference is to be open by default, and use internal tools only where necessary).
  • it defines a “company” based on email domain. Mine is a country-specific address, so I’ve ended up part of a Yammer community which is only for the UK section of the company. For a worldwide corporation, this defeats the object. Taking a look at Yammer’s pricing options, it looks like they have Silver and Gold paid plans that offer greater control and multiple domains… but I can’t imagine that we’d end up using those options.

I’m not taking potshots at Yammer for the fun of it… I can see that they do have a number of major clients, and when I’ve been to conferences I’ve met some of those who use the service – they’ve seemed happy with it. For me, it’s just not practical. I’m intrigued to note that even with the rush of new sign-ups which I can only assume are driven by the current Facebook advertising campaign, there’s almost no discussion going on in the community, with some people even redirecting folks back to Twitter or our internal tools in their very first posts…

Social Media adoption, and Community Building

Just a short post today. Euan Semple was recently interviewed by GuruOnline and the result was a great series of short videos in which he discusses how and why businesses should get involved in social media, how it can affect the way they work, and some of the tools that can be used. I liked his response to the thorny ROI question, and in particular his final statement in the last of the 15 segments – “corporations don’t tweet, people do”. Check it out.

In a related thought, I really enjoyed Matt Simpson’s blog entry yesterday about community building in corporations: The Manager Who Thought He Could Create a Community. It’s so true that it takes more than just a few clicks of a mouse to create a community of any kind – it takes work, participation, nurturing, and most importantly, conversation.

On Flickr and Video

I just renewed my Flickr Pro subscription and spotted that Flickr has introduced the ability to upload video.

In some quarters there has been uproar.

flickr-twitter

I was thinking about this. It doesn’t make sense in the grander scheme of video sharing (YouTube, Viddler etc.). I guess that was my first reaction, anyway. However, reading the FAQ and trying to understand what Flickr are going for here in the way that they have implemented it, I’m prepared to give it a try. The idea is described as “long photos” limited to 90 seconds, and it kind of works. I’ll have to watch and see how the site changes.