November 2005 Archives

architect's summit

A recurring theme here is the general malaise of the enterprise software development space being beseiged by warring factions, religious arguments, and petty bickering -- leading to lots of reinvention, duplication of effort, and piles of hubris. It seems like a significant part of the industry has gone "meta" and just wants to build tooling, and doesn't seem to want to get any real work done with the exiting tooling. Whereas a lot of people are very happy with .NET 2.0 and J2EE 1.4 w/ Spring, Hibernate, and Struts. And lots are also happy with the proprietary "up-stack" products from IBM, BEA, and Oracle such as their integration and portal severs. WebLogic Portal, for example, is BEA's hottest selling product, though if you read the pundits in the blogosphere you'd think portals were passe'.

Anyway, I think there is a general need to agree on some core principles and guidance of how to build robust and performing enterprise software, regardless of your chosen religion. Thankfully, it looks like I'm not the only one.... later this week I'm heading to London UK to attend an architect's summit, organized by a few technology thought leaders -- Rod Johnson, from Interface21, Steve Ross-Talbot from the W3C, Alexis Richardson from Monadic & MetaLogic, Floyd Marinescu from TheServerSide.com and John Davies from C24. Around 30 tech architects are expected to attend from across the globe, to discuss practical guidance on building distributed enterprise systems.

Hopefully we'll come to some kind of agreement on a roadmap or manifesto. Stay tuned....

A couple Druckerisms

From Jack Yoest....

"How does Peter Drucker write so much and write so clearly?"

All writers have that moment of looking at a blank page before words form. But Drucker wrote some 30 books.

Mr. Russell shook his head in disbelief. "Peter would start with a large yellow legal pad and write out page after page after page. His first draft."

"Lots of writers do that," I said. "But maybe on a computer."

"Sure," says Russell leaning forward. "But Drucker then rips it up. Throws it out. He never keeps any first draft."

He went on to explain that Drucker knew his subject with such depth and richness that he would use the draft merely as a warm-up exercise before doing the 'real writing.'

On capitalism....

"I am for the free market. Even though it doesn't work too well, nothing else works at all. But I have serious reservations about capitalism as a system because it idolises economics as the be-all and end-all of life."

And an insightful 1 hour podcast from several months ago.

Peter Drucker has passed away at age 95

Drucker, management guru, social ecologist, and probably the most influential author in my life, passed away, fittingly on Rememberance Day, November 11, 2005. He was the king of communicating complex issues. In my opinion, his first 4 books (The End of Economic Man, The Future of Industrial Man, The Concept of the Corporation, and The New Society) remain some of the most insightful political and social commentary since Marx.

Obitutaries from the NY Times, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, and Bloomberg.

BPEL backlash

The BPEL backlash has begun in earnest. I alluded to the problems of applying BPEL as the solution to all routing & rule definition problems in yesterday's blog entry. Now David Linthicum opines that BPEL ain't there yet.

I quite liked David Chappell's take. BPEL is important as a business protocol specification language. It can be an effective way to model distributed interactions, though it is an "orchestrated" approach vs. a "choreographed" one. But BPEL is not "really" going to be a portable execution language, except perhaps within some communities (i.e. Java), and even then there are missing extensions that are just now being considered (i.e. BPEL4People).

Though you'll notice the omnipresent VP of Oracle's BPEL PM, Edwin Khodabakchian, posting comments defending his solution. I like Oracle's BPEL PM, I think it's comparable to MS Biztalk or BEA WLI (which is saying a lot), but it's just as "locked in" as those solutions are. Perhaps porting between IBM WBI and Oracle BPEL is a bit easier than the others, because they both use WSIF. But JBI is going to replace WSIF some day, arguably. And WSIF/JBI don't work with .NET or other environments. There are big problems lurking here.

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