Friday, September 28, 2007

To SOA or Not to SOA.. Is that the question?

With so much press, and marketing around SOA, one has to wonder.. just how many projects really involve Service Oriented Architectures? It is certainly the latest and greatest thing, but how many of you are jumping on the band wagon?

At the heart of SOA of course, is an old concept of reuse. Many projects have improved productivity significantly with reuse through patterns. I've heard of insane numbers such as cutting cost of projects by over 50%, along with other statistics. Since none of this I can back up and substantiate now, the numbers are not as important as the concept. I think instinctively we can understand that the more of our artifacts that we can reuse within projects teams/ departments/organizations the more we don’t have to build from scratch, thus saving lots of $$$.

One way reuse is implemented within projects is through patterns and pattern based development. The challenge with reuse is that the components have to be generic enough that that they can be reused and yet specific enough that you still get the ROI from them that you are looking for. Of course, patterns allowed you to do so. Whether it was patterns for company specific frameworks, company security policies or companies login algorithms, patterns are able to be defined to include just the right amount of structural and behavioral logical to be adopted into multiple different kinds of projects. These patterns are then incorporated into projects, with additional business logic implemented based on specific business rules as it relates to that process, department or specific situation.

Many organizations saw the effectiveness of patterns - clearly you are not recreating all components from scratch but are just concentrating on the business logic - and thus many began initiatives to create them.

But many organizations failed at their initiatives. Well "failed" is probably a very strong word – however, many did not get the ROI they were looking for. Is it because pattern based development only works for a few? No! Of course not. At the beginning of this discussion, I mentioned that patterns were a way to implement reuse, and get the most out of reusing your assets. Thus, reuse is the culprit!

Reuse strategies had to be put in place to leverage the patterns that were being cranked out of the factory. Thus, did organizations fail with reuse? Why did they fail? That is an age old question that I am sure has many variables, that I don’t have the space to write about – nor, to be frank, the qualifications. I can tell from my own experience, and working with customers, some things that came up were: as organizations grew more and more distributed, with teams increasingly so, how were individuals supposed to know were those assets and patterns were? Even if they were lucky enough to know where they were, how did they know the right ones for their projects? And, how did they know how to use them? Many actually just re-wrote their assets – because it was faster for them to rewrite their company’s software component for their own use than to understand how it was meant to be used. Clearly, this was counter productive. This could be one reason that companies did not see the ROI they expected.

So.. for some, reuse proved to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and many best practices and lessons learned were gathered throughout these reuse projects.

Grant Larsen, from IBM, even helped to develop the RAS (Reusable Asset Specification) http://www.omg.org/technology/documents/formal/ras.htm which was adopted by the OMG –to help streamline pattern based development and address some of the issues facing patterns, such as how to package them so they can be easily incorporated into their environment. For more information on Assets and Reuse, you can start with: http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/453/larsen.html

Companies, teams and developers also learned that to really be successful with reuse, reuse strategies need to be put in place with tools that help communicate where those patterns, components and company frameworks are located, which are the latest versions to be used and with metrics in place to include information such as whether the asset in place is used, how effective it is and how clear is it to teams on how and when to use, amongst many other factors.

In fact, if you are interested in more details on this, you can check out an article written also by Grant “http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/sep07/larsen/index.html”, the first of three articles on how to implement successful reuse strategies with tools from IBM Rational.

Now, isn’t the framework of SOA really all about reuse? For that reason, how many really jumped on SOA framework? How many of you are implementing SOA within your projects? I encourage you to comment… I would truly like to understand. As a marketing manager, I am asked to market our products to SOA. Which of course as a marketer, I oblige and do. But, to me, isn’t SOA just another form of reuse? With patterns geared towards web services, with WSDL definitions? Aren’t all the same issues faced earlier by organizations with reuse, still going to rear their ugly heads with SOA? How do distributed teams know what services – or business processes - are already implemented? And if they do, but need to change them, how can they truly understand the impact of that change to others – since its been reused? How can they find the asset (with the right version and all) to modify to make those custom changes, and then ensure they communicate their latest changes and upload them effectively? All these are issues discussed with reuse, and issues again arising with this new services frameworks? So.. are projects jumping on SOA as magic bullet and is it really helping? Or, are organizations cautiously evaluating SOA, and some either just adopting more effective reuse strategies to compete with the demand of cutting software cost while others adopt SOA as a way to effectively reuse and adopt lessons learns and guidance from thought leaders such as IBM?

Should I as a marketing person, market our products to reuse? SOA? Of course, our IBM tools are construction tools that help you make your software better, cheaper.. does it matter if its for SOA? Or for another company specific framework? No! it doesn’t… but it helps to highlight how it can be applied to it, or your company specific frameworks ;)

I should say I am no authority on SOA, Architecture or really anything. I am not a certified Software Architect. I do have computer science background, working on projects myself as well as part of IBM Rational working and implementing with customers. Thus, this is my humble, private, practitioner opinion.

I’d love to hear yours! Am I totally off? Or am I on to something.. and should write a book and become rich?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Resources for Architects

One question I get asked a lot is "Where can I go to find good architecture resources?" One of the big problems is when you type "architecture" into Google, you get lots of ideas about how to build houses, and less on how to build software.

So, I've been coming up with a list to post here, then I found one online. All my hard work down the drain. Anyway, here's the list, and it's well worth bookmarking. I'll add other suggestions in future posts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Script your Web Experience!

On of the great things about working at IBM is getting to see the level of innovation and invention that goes on at IBM Research labs. Usually when they're working on something new, the application of the technology is years away, for example the research around atomic computing.

However, sometimes the benefits are more tangible today, as can be seen by Rational's collaboration with Research on the Jazz project, and with today's unveiling of a new scripting tool for the web, a free and easy-to-use online service for recording step-by-step processes that Web users do on a regular basis, then automatically running those processes, eliminating repetitive or mundane tasks for the user.

"This new service is an effective means of giving time back to users who have generally lost many hours repeatedly going through the same motions when using the Web," said Kathy Mandelstein, Director of Worldwide Developer Programs for IBM. "CoScripter not only makes it easier for users to take advantage of the Internet, but it also encourages community and the sharing of information through the Web."

For more information on this tool, see the full article on Yahoo, or download it from alphaworks.

Now we just need to figure out how to use it to automatically script the purchase of Rational Architecture Management tools to blow out our numbers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Demo Excitement

More new demos went live today, this time showing you how you can use Rational Application Developer, DB2 and WebSphere Application Server together:

Learn how to create a DB2 database, populate the database, link the database to Rational Application Developer, build a Web project in Rational Application Developer, create a JSP page with your database values, and publish the project to WebSphere Application Server.

You can find them here:

Build a Web application without writing any code: Install and configure Rational Application Developer, DB2, and WebSphere Application Server

Build a Web application without writing any code, Part 2: Build the application using Rational Application Developer, DB2, and WebSphere Application Server

Monday, September 24, 2007

Empowering the 'A' in SOA

Hear about how IBM Rational is Empowering the "A" in SOA! Join Scott Hebner, IBM Rational VP of Marketing, and Jeff Henry, IBM Rational Director of Offerings Management, discuss the IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform V7


video

Free Tools from IBM webcast tomorrow..

Don't forget to register for tomorrow's webcast "From Development to Deployment: Application Development with Free Tools from IBM", which discusses how you can use freely downloadable tools from IBM like WebSphere Application Developer Community Edition and DB2 Express-C along with Eclipse and Eclipse support to build and deploy web applications.

It should be a fun time, so register here!

Friday, September 21, 2007

TGIF

Happy Friday everyone!

Gail -- I will enjoy some BBQ ribs for us all! :-)

Our Blog is now a week old, and there's all kinds of interesting links and video's listed. If you haven't checked them out yet, make sure you do this weekend!

Have a great weekend!

Easy Fasting!

For those celebrating Yom Kippur, I wish you easy fasting!

For those not, eat something delicious for all of us fasting!

On behalf of my family, we would like to ask forgiveness from anyone we hurt or wronged in any way. And, of course, we forgive you all!

Other great places to visit

Here are some other links I thought I'd share with you.

Our colleague Brian Bryson over on the Quality Management marketing team has his own not-to-be-missed blog, The Rational Tester.

Also not to be missed is Grady Booch's blog over on IBM developerWorks. Grady is pretty much our hero, so definitely check out what he has to say.

Finally, there are lots of great blogs over on the IBM Blogroll, so it's worth heading over there to browse the random musings of IBMers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The buzz around Asset Management

I did say in the previous post, with it only being noon, I had so much accomplished, and than talked about one article. Yes, I did more than that!

Also, thought I'd mention, Grant Larsen, who is the Chief Architect for Rational Asset Manager, will be doing a webcast Keys to Implementing an Asset-based Development Strategy at http://www.adtmag.com/techlib/product.aspx?pid=82. Join him live on Sept 25!!

Coffee drives productivity!

OK.. what a dramatic title, for a not so dramatic post! I guess you are now learning a bit of my personality, a drama queen, (though no one would dare call me that, at least not to my face) is one word that may have come to mind! But, did it get your attention? I guess that's the first rule in marketing.. get attention - and if I did that, than I succeeded! If I didn't, that I still have much to learn!

Its not even noon yet, and I already accomplished so much. OK, truth be told other people accomplished a lot, I just get to tell people about it!. But that is my job... and I will get good at it!

Some of you may have heard of a new and exciting product from IBM Rational, called Rational Asset Manager. An asset management solution with an eclipse and web interface, that easily allows you to facilitate asset reuse, and share your innovative software components within your team or your organizations. With teams so distributed, how can you let it know that you've created a component or an algorithm that can improve the way software is written today at your company? Well, with Rational Asset Manager you can! - Again, here I go being all dramatic. For more info on RAM, you can check out: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/awdtools/ram/

But I am truly excited about an article "Rational Asset Manager Made Practicle" by Grant Larsen, IBM posted on http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/sep07/larsen/index.html. This is not a 'marketing' Rational Asset Manager is great article, but first part of three, that details how to deploy Asset Management initiatives successfully. This practical guide will truly help you understand the importance of an asset management strategy as well as how to properly deploy it with RAM.

We're on iTunes!

Rationally Speaking is now available on iTunes - you can download our video podcasts right to your iPod, and watch them on your way to work (assuming you're not diving!). Here's the link that'll take you directly to the new videos, but you can also search in iTunes for "IBM Rational".

We'll be adding new demos and videos over time, so go ahead and subscribe!

If you don't have iTunes, you can get it for free here.

Pictures from the show....

Well, it was a busy first session at SD Best Practices yesterday - lots of people stopped by the booth to chat about Architecture and Construction tools. I snapped a couple of (really low quality) pictures with my phone. First, you can't miss the IBM booth!


We have one tiny little corner of the IBM mega-booth. I'm hiding behind a huge post, so you'll really have to work to find me (ha! - qualified leads!!):


And finally, a general shot of the booth, with Mr. Brian Bryson excitedly talking about testing with a conference-goer.

Don't forget that there's still time to make it out to the booth today - so if you haven't yet - what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meet Steve in Boston!

Steve,

have a safe trip to Boston. I would say catch a game of the #1 Boston Red Sox's at Fenway Park, but I believe they are away this week. Next best thing is meet a few customers and take them out for a pint or two. :-) Look for Steve if you are in Boston this week.

Safe travels!

My puppies are especially excited today. Full moon?

Cosmo - the Mini Schnauzer

Misha - Shibu Inu

Life is not as exciting as Steve's

Good morning everyone!
Well, my life isn't as exciting as Steve's, and I don't get to go to Boston to meet all of you! If you get a chance to check out the conference, let me know how it is. Unlike Steve, I have to work!

See you at SD Best Practices

I'm heading out today to go staff the Architecture Management booth at SD Best Practices 2007 in Boston, running from today through Friday.

If you're going to the show, or are looking for something to do this week, stop by the IBM booth and say hello. We're giving away some cool stuff (I can't tell you what it is yet, but it will be worth it!!) and I'll be demoing RSA, RAD and RAM. What could be better than that?

New Demos available!

Today, we added some new Rational Application Developer demos to our product pages. Check them out! Eventually, we'll make these available as podcasts on iTunes also, so you can watch them while you commute to work.
Let us know if you'd like to see a specific demo for RAD, or any other Architecture Management product.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Too True....


I am not, however, saying that this is what happens here.

Building Web Services with RAD

Here's the latest Rational Application Developer video demo - this will also be available as a podcast in iTunes, and on YouTube, so check it out!

For more information on Rational Application Developer, go see the main page at IBM.

video

Welcome!

Welcome to the Rationally Speaking blog - a place where you can find out the inside scoop on what's new and exciting from the Architecture Management Team at IBM Rational. We look forward to revealing our personal sides, our challenges and triumphs not only as it relates to our daily work but also with each other.

Have you ever wondered what marketing does for fun? How does marketing come up with all the 'bright' ideas? Want to know how Marketing works? So do we. Find out with us!

Check back here to find whats new with current and upcoming Rational Architecture Management tools like Rational Application Developer, Rational Software Architect and Rational Asset Manager.

Drop us a note on how we can improve our marketing outreach, our product portfolio and this blog.

For more information, you can go to the Rational Architecture Management homepage at IBM.

We'll be posting new demos soon. Look for this logo in iTunes: