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Last modified: April 19, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 19 April 2007

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:

An Abstract SOA Reference Model
John Evdemon, Loosely Coupled Thinking (Blog)

SOA projects may experience limited success when they are driven from the bottom up by developers unfamiliar with the strategic needs of the organization. Building SOA for the sake of SOA without reference to the business context is a project without organizing principles and guidance. The result is a chaotic implementation that has no business relevance. On the other hand, taking a top-down enterprise-wide approach to SOA requires such enormous time investments that by the time the project is complete, the solution no longer maps to business needs... By contrast, Microsoft advocates a 'middle out' approach which combines both top-down and bottom-up methodologies. In this approach, SOA efforts are driven by strategic vision and business need, and are met through incremental, iterative SOA projects that are designed to deliver on business goals one business need at a time. The concept of SOA can be viewed from several possible perspectives. While no single perspective or set of perspectives represents a definitive view of a SOA, from a holistic view these perspectives assist in understanding the underlying architectural requirements. Microsoft believes that there are three abstract capability layers exposed within a SOA: (1) Expose—focuses on how existing IT investments are exposed as a set of broad, standards-based services, enabling these investments to be available to a broader set of consumers. (2) Compose—Once services are created, they can be combined into more complex services, applications or cross-functional business processes. Because services are exist independently of one another they can be combined (or 'composed') and reused with maximum flexibility. As business processes evolve, business rules and practices can be adjusted without constraint from the limitations of the underlying applications. Composing services requires some sort of workflow or orchestration mechanism. Microsoft provides these capabilities via BizTalk Server 2006 (BTS) or Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). (3) Consume—When a new application or business process has been created that functionality must be made available for access (consumption) by IT systems, other services or by end-users. Consumption focuses on delivering new applications that enable increased productivity and enhanced insight into business performance. Users may consume 'composed' services through a broad number of outlets including web portals, rich clients, Office business applications (OBA), and mobile devices.

See also:

Atompub Interop Lessons
Tim Bray, Ongoing Blog

Report on the Atom Publishing Protocol Interop, April 16-17, 2007: "The Atompub Interop results are summarized on the Wiki; what do they mean? Obviously, good news: The fact that people from this many places, most of whom had never met before, got together and were able to put that many check-marks on the grid, based on a protocol whose design is not quite frozen, verges on the miraculous... It's become pretty obvious that a pretty broad range of pieces of software can fairly claim to to be Atompub implementations. This is more obvious on the server than on the client side, partly because the implementations are more numerous and mature at this point. Some are clearly not general-purpose; for example, the O'Reilly people at the Interop event had what appeared to be a perfectly legal implementation; but you could only post DocBook XML to it. Which I can see being useful for them, but a vanilla blogging client probably won't work that well with it, out of the box... Technologies represented: Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Java, C#; DB2, Oracle, MySQL, Derby, flat files; Linux, Windows, OS X, Solaris. Spot the pattern? Sun and IBM and Oracle have working database-backed Atom stores. Microsoft and IBM, that we know of, have in-progress clients. Judging by my email, there are a bunch of startups hacking together one side or another of the protocol. Draw your own conclusions, but I think it's obvious..."

See also: the APP Client/Server Interop Grid

Web 2.0 Tools Inspire Data-Sharing Software
Ben Ames, InfoWorld

John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects, speaking at the AIIM/On Demand trade show in Boston: "Businesses that use ECM (Enterprise Content Management) software to manage data could soon be giving employees more control over that data, as application providers are inspired by Web 2.0 tools like wikis, mashups and data tags. BI (Business Intelligence) software goes a step beyond document tracking, and helps users to fix the inefficiencies in how they save and share their data. Software providers such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft have developed sets of software tools to serve that need, but future BI suites can be far more powerful using Web 2.0-style technology and behavior, Schwarz said. The new software could use social networks to give users the power to pool resources and buying power, he said. Owens and Minor in Mechanicsville, Virginia, is a hospital equipment supplier that uses Business Objects software to merge buying budgets of thousands of hospitals and save them money by negotiating with medical equipment vendors for volume discounts. Next-generation software could also rely on a large community of individuals to contribute to a database and correct their own mistakes, in a model similar to the online encyclopedia. Organic Valley Farms is a dairy cooperative based in LaFarge, Wisconsin, that uses BI software to monitor nationwide demand for milk, compare that to competitors' productivity and weather patterns, and adjust their own production and shipping to maximize profits. Future versions of Web-inspired BI software could also send data to mobile platforms like handsets and cell phones, allow simple Google-fashion searches as well as expert data queries, and expand databases that contain purely coded information to also include unstructured documents, e-mail, and even images."

Design Strategies for Legacy System Involvement in SOA Solutions
Jeremy Caine and Joe Hardman, IBM developerWorks

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is at the heart of many business-transformation efforts. Many enterprises approach SOA transformation incrementally, using their valuable legacy IT systems to participate as service providers. The solution architect's challenge is not only to deliver the SOA infrastructure as a means to aid transformation, but also to ensure that enterprise-wide business operations remain robust and compliant. Your enterprise must develop an enterprise information-management strategy that can be part of the SOA and maintain overall data and content consistency across all business operations.

OASIS Symposium Keynote
Bob Sutor, Blog

I've now put online the slides I used for my keynote at the OASIS Symposium this morning. Warning: these are very minimalist but you might have fun imagining what I said around these few words. The advice section is for OASIS as an organization, such as when I suggested they remove the RAND option they have in their IP policy right now, leaving the two RF options. Since they've put in the new three-way policy, only 1 out of 50 groups have gone RAND. 2% is hardly enough to keep it going in OASIS. At the end of my talk someone suggested that some industry groups might not like the no-RAND option, but, then again, they're not using it. Just kill it, in my opinion. In the same way, I don't think OASIS is a standards factory, I was just cautioning them against becoming one. There are groups in the world that are just standards factories for hire. Unfortunately, the difference between good groups and bad groups is not alway obvious to the casual observer. In April of 2005, IBM announced that it would only use one of the RF options where we would work with OASIS in the future. Any other takers on this pledge?

See also: the slides

Fourteen Ruby Projects Accepted for Google Summer of Code
Werner Schuster,

For the third time now, Google offers it's Summer of Code (SoC) program. It's Google's way of helping open source projects by paying bounties for serious contributions. To keep the work serious, every project consists of (1) a student that does the work, the SoC project only accepts projects from students; (2) a mentor who helps provides help and advice about the project, and who evaluates the project at the end -- to make sure the bounty is deserved; (3) a mentoring organization that provides mentors, these are usually organizations involved with open source projects. In the case of Ruby, the mentoring organization is RubyCentral Inc., the organization behind RubyConf and other conferences. ["Google Summer of Code is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects. Google will be working with a several open source, free software and technology-related groups to identify and fund several projects over a three month period. Accepted student applications for Google Summer of Code have been announced. We accepted over 900 student applicants from a pool of nearly 6,200 applications."]

See also: Google Summer of Code


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