December 2005 Archives

SuperHyperFanBoys

Bruce Eckel, one of my favoured authors for introductory language books, has posted an essay entitled The departure of the hyper-enthusiasts. Java used to be an over-hyped language, now it seems that Ruby (and Rails) has become the next one, though without the corporate sponsorship thus far.

Bruce points out that Java is now being used to get work done instead of being a religious rallying cry, and EJB has done tremendous damage to its productivity. Was Java ever really suited to being a web application development language? Building web applications used to be done in Perl, but for some reason that became "bad", and Java, ASP and now .NET are used instead. In this sense, Ruby really is the "new perl", with objects that work. And perhaps the migration we're seeing from Java is from people that should have been using perl or PHP in the first place for their websites.

It seems passe' to approve of the "C++ way of doing things", but a lot of that mindset was definitely a driving force behind Java's evolution through the late 1990's, arguably for the better. Perhaps Java's staying power is due to the C++ guys more or less getting the language they wanted with Java 5; they never really were into the scripting style languages in the first place, anyway. Whereas the Smalltalk guys never really got much play at Sun, now they have Ruby as a way of resurrecting their beloved language features.

My own curiousity is whether Ruby will take more mindshare away from Java/.NET or if it will come from PHP, Python, and Perl. I tend to think the latter, most of the leading edge work I see corporations doing are NOT "connect the database to the web", which seems to be where most programmer's heads are still at en masse. What's even more interesting is that .NET seems to be taking the "innovative road" with C# 3.0 and LINQ...

On a final note, it is unfortunate to see respected authors/figureheads cashing in on a hype wave so quickly with sloppy books and poorly formed or researched ideas.... these are the former Java-gurus turned Ruby hucksters. Some honestly just prefer Ruby as a language, and have been saying it for years prior to it being popular (I know I've been a Ruby fan since 2000-2001 for my personal use, but I've rarely used it professionally), but others are coming out and stating their love for the language along with a new book professing their love...

SOA Certification

Now that it's announced, I feel I can reveal one of several things I've been working on at BEA for the past several weeks: BEA's SOA Enterprise Architecture certification, particularly phase 2, which should be available at the end of December.

A number of people, including David Linthicum have suggested there should be some kind of SOA architecture certification, and have been publicly debating the kinds of questions it would ask. Well, here are the exam objectives. I welcome comments.

My perspective behind the exam: BEA's interest is in promoting SOA as an IT strategy; certainly software-as-a-service has a broader implication on the consumer and social realms, but we sell "bet your business" infrastructure to would-be service providers and existing IT shops, and have a large installed base both on Tuxedo and WebLogic. So, while we believe in Web 2.0 and SaaS and all the changes to the industry it's bringing, we're biased towards a practical, results-oriented method to adopt SOA in existing organizations, not green-field startups. We want to certify architects that have a broad and deep view of the terrain.

The certification is not about understanding BEA's products, and we never mention any. We use industry neutral terminology, though of course BEA has its own dialect of this terminology, such as referring to SOA-enabling stacks as "service infrastructure", for example. The certification is about understanding both the business, process, and technology ramifications of services, and especially being able to understand the practical ways in which to move a legacy IT base towards SOA. The kind of candidate we're looking for is someone who will help guide an SOA transformation program at an enterprise (for phase 2) and someone who intends to lead an SOA transformation program (for phase 3). And yes, there hopefully will be more collateral (study guides, papers, etc.) in support of this certification in the coming weeks.

Anyway, take a look, I think it's a unique take on the challenge of SOA.

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