Tag Archives: Middleware

WebSphere Connectivity products v7 announcements

I briefly tweeted a few Fridays ago about one of the new products IBM announced at the start of this month.

wmb7tweetRegular / long-term readers will know that WebSphere Message Broker is one of my technology specialisms – it’s a product that I’ve been working with for 8 or so years now, through various versions. A few days ago I also mentioned in passing about the new version of WebSphere Service Registry and Repository. Both of these products are part of my day job, working in product strategy and development in IBM Hursley.

So let’s just review the announcements in the WebSphere Connectivity portfolio, and pick out some my favourite new features and enhancements.

Take a look at the announcement letters for individual products for full details of what to expect.

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WebSphere Service Registry and Repository Redbooks

One of the products I’ve been becoming increasingly involved with as part of my work at Hursley has been WebSphere Service Registry and Repository. Rather than redefine what the product is here, I’ll take a snippet from the WSRR FAQ:

WebSphere Service Registry and Repository is a system for storing, accessing and managing information, commonly referred as service metadata, used in the selection, invocation, management, governance and reuse of services in a successful SOA. In other words, it is where you store information about services in your systems, or in other organizations’ systems, that you already use, plan to use, or want to be aware of.

The Registry and Repository is becoming increasingly central to many SOA deployments and is strongly integrated with several of IBM’s runtimes (including hooks with my long-term product specialisms, WebSphere MQ and Message Broker).

Version 7 of WSRR was announced at the start of October (more on this later in the week), but in the meantime it’s worth noting that a great set of Redbooks and Redpapers for the current 6.3 release have recently hit the publications website:

Over the past few months I’ve gotten to know many of the IBMers who worked on these books and papers personally, and I have to say that they are the absolute experts on the topics. I know I’ll be reaching for these publications when I need to know my way around specific topic areas.

Learn WebSphere Message Broker

A couple of weeks ago I noted that the highly talented Mr Martin Gale is allowing me to absorb his genius by osmosis, or at least by working in the same office. I also mentioned that he’s successfully learned the basics of WebSphere Message Broker, too. This is an enterprise middleware product which I’ve spent around 9 years working with – using the product, consulting with clients, writing Redbooks, and educating newcomers.

When I wrote that blog entry, I missed an ideal opportunity to mention that IBM has a trial version of WebSphere Message Broker which is available for download. It’s a great way to take a look at the product and start to develop your own skills. The Information Center and Samples Gallery (available from the Message Broker Toolkit once the product is installed) are very effective places to start, too.

A couple of additional resources that might be of interest to newcomers are the articles in the WMB Zone on IBM developerWorks (check out the “latest content” section), and an unofficial user forum called MQSeries.net which has an active discussion group about WebSphere Message Broker.

IBM WebSphere Application Server – free to developers

My friend Per and the guys who write the WebSphere Community Blog have already posted today to note that developers can now download and use WebSphere Application Server version 7.0 for free.

Nada. Zilch. Zip. Nuthin’. Nowt.

What’s the big deal? Well, before now IBM hasn’t made WebSphere Application Server (also known as WAS) available for free, you’ve needed a license. Although the Java Enterprise Edition programming model is broadly the same regardless of the choice of vendor, it’s always a good idea to develop, test and deploy on the same version of the runtime you’ll be using in production. Plus, you get the opportunity to learn more about WAS administration and hone skills with the product. It’s well worth a look.

And look, let’s be honest, I don’t post about WebSphere stuff half as much as I “should” – this is newsworthy stuff. Go take a look.

Building a mainframe with nodes and wires

Last Friday, I built a mainframe. It looks like this:

message flow

Well OK. That’s a very, very big exaggeration. Let me explain. I’m doing some work at the moment that involves using some Enterprise Service Bus logic with CICS and various other systems. In one particular case I needed to be able to invoke a CICS transaction across the CICS/MQ bridge. This is actually incredibly straightforward, but at the last minute I couldn’t get my queue manager connected to the host thanks to some firewall issues, so I decided to create a stub version instead.

My own “ESB of choice” is WebSphere Message Broker, and coincidentally that was what I was using to develop logic late last week. I’ve been using the product for about seven years now, on and off. The development environment for WMB enables the user to create message flows that receive data over various input protocols, and wire together various operations which transform, route or otherwise make use of the data.

All this “mainframe emulator” flow does is receive a message with a COBOL copybook formatted body; map the values into a response message (there’s some conditional logic in the map which decides whether to return an error of some kind based on the specific account number in the incoming message, to emulate different conditions); and then just reply to the ReplyToQueue specified in the input message.

Total time – about 3 minutes (OK… a bit more, as I was fiddling with the return conditions and a little bit of XPath in the mapping node). Obviously it’s not a real CICS system, but it served the purpose I needed. Since the interface to the actual CICS/MQ bridge is well-defined, it would be a simple matter of redirecting the message traffic to the real system if it was required for some other degree of testing.