Colorado Software Summit 2003 - Day 1
I came over to the Keystone Conference Center early today to get a wi-fi connection for blogging, e-mail, and other important stuff. The first 4 CSS attendees into the center this morning, were all running Macintosh laptops. Heh. I wonder if anyone else is blogging CSS? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wi-fi network isn't working in all locations. Bummer.
Wayne Kovsky announced that 18 countries are represented here at CSS 2003. Cool.
Opening Keynote - John Soyring, IBM
The opening keynote was presented by John Soyring from IBM. He touched on the econmomic realities today. Notably, spending is increasing but project size is smaller, so sales staffs are having to work much harder to close the same amount of business as a few years ago. Consumer confidence is picking up.
There is an uptick in jobs especially for those with deep skills. Entry and intermediate level programmers are not in as much demand, in fact, much of this is moving off shore. IBM is looking for Solution Architects, Business Process Integrators Portal Designers, Legacy Integrators and experts in Performance Analysis and Tuning.
Mr. Soyring always gives his predictions. He says that last year he underestimated the popularity of portals. Businesses are building employee portals first, then business to business, next they will be going back to the business to consumer portals but in a much different way then the .dot com's did it.
Another hot area for employment is Security and Privacy. There is a move to find software that will enforce privacy policies.
There is also a need orchestration and provisioning software that can work across heterogenous hardware.
IBM was dragged into Linux by their customers according to Mr. Soyring, "And we thank them." They are seeing a trend to Linux on desktops amongst some of their customers so there is an opportunity there. Many government organizations are moving to Linux on the server and desktop. He mentioned Banco de Brazil, Russia, UK, and Munich. Cost is the first mover. However, many orgainzations, including IBM, have determined that the feature set in MS Office is largely underutilized by the vast majority of users. Open Source is commoditizing the software stack.
Grid computing will drive virtualization. Most UNIX servers run at very low processor utiliztion rates and this is driving consolidation efforts. Grids give an organization the opportunity to use idle cycles or perhaps sell them. He cited the grid built by IBM for this year's US Open Tennis tournament. When the grid was idle IBM donated the processor power to research in protein folding (cancer research).
IBM's mainframes are enjoying brisk sales to organizations using them to consolidate servers. There is a demand for older programmers with COBOL and PL-1 skills to maintain existing apps and port them to J2EE.
The big success story for J2EE is of course E-bay. 400 million page views a day along with several application changes a week, all while the application runs.
E-business on demand is dependent on open standards. Much of the standards based software is Open Source. The only practical way to go is the standards route. The second part of E-business on demand will be businesses paying for just the computing power they need. This will lead to more flexible and efficient business processes. Third we need better technology to manage systems in a fashion similar to the autonomic nervous system.
Mr. Soyring then went on to advise developers on their directions in education. He told us to start to learn Agile Software development techniques focusing on the Agile Manifesto. He thinks that Aspect Oriented Programming has a place in letting tools generate code wherever possible. His recipe for the successful developer includes, best practices, deep skills, and professional certification. He also reminds us that to be successful we must devote several weeks a year to training and learning.
The Web Services Stack - Denis Hatzidakis, Perficient, Inc.
Denise's talk tried to make sense out of the acronym soup that make up the web services stack by asking, "What is a web service?" She discussed service oriented architecture where systems are conceived from a process-centric perspective based on vendor-independent standards. She went through the web services stack, foundation, messaging, description and discovery, security, reliability, enterprise, user experience, and interoperability. She talked about the major standards players, OASIS, W3C, WS-I, IETF and UN/CEFAC. A good deal of her presentation was on WS-I. They have established interoperability testing tools. She talked about the components that make up a SOAP message (SOAP is a protocol not a transport). They include the SOAP envelope, header, and body. She showed how WSDL (Web Services Discovery Language) is used to enable dynamic discovery of services along with UDDI.
Developing Interoperable Web Services for the Enterprise - Simon Nash, IBM
Mr. Nash also started out by asking, "What is a web service?" I guess no one knows. He presented the W3C definition, "A Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. It has an interface desciibed in a machine-processable format. Other systems interact with the Web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP-messages, typically conveyed using HTTP with an XML serialization in conjuction with other Web-related standards." In his presentation Mr. Nash took a detailed look at WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI by showing the Java code for a simple Web service along with the XML pieces.
JAXP: Beyond XML Processing - Bonnie B. Ricca, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Ms. Ricca presented the new JAXP api that brings together many aspects of XML processing including SAX, DOM and XSLT. JAXP allows the developer to process XML in a vendor neutral way along with standardizing the code necessary for that processing. She explained the strengths of SAX, DOM and XSLT and how JAXP leverages those strengths. JAXP then is basically an abstraction layer around SAX, DOM, and XSLT that allows the developer to plug in any Java XML parser or XSLT parser. She went on to demonstrate how to use the SAX parser, the DOM parsers, create a new DOM document, bootstrap using JAXP, and perform a translation with SAXP. She showed schema validation, validation against a DTD, and transformation with validation.