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Getting into Web Services

HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Paul, what was your motivation for getting into Web Services ?
There must have been some burning issue that made you make up your mind about wasting ,um,spending your time in this area.
And why did you decide to go into Storage solutions. Not that's something to complain about,but Web Services to Storage solutions doesn't seem a natural career path. But if you were working for IBM that possibly might explain a lot. IBM expects fully rounded corporates.
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

HS,
I believe that Web Services is the technology which will grow in days to come.


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HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Pradeep,
From the link you posted , I thought you didn't believe that Web Services was distributed objects.A good link.
Distributed objects is what we are striving for after all. From the link you posted , Web Services seem to be best thought of as a messaging framework, an all platform framework.But with new developments in Web Services I am not sure that it will be used in messaging only.
Perhaps Web Services + new developments will become a totally distributed component framework eventually.
Paul Monday
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Wow, what an interesting and introspective question...
Let me tackle the two questions separately...
"Why Web Services" - I think learning Web Services is a natural extension of so many of the technologies I've worked with. For example, the Jini Technology from Sun is an excellent case study in a powerful SOA with an early, major, weakness...lack of implementation transparency. Some of this is addressed now, but when Web Services, SOAP and XML were taking off, I was working with the Jini and Jiro Technologies from Sun. At this point, I really started to see the weaknesses of Jini's late focus on other languages...for example, device vendors often choose C, yet when you try to federate your services, Jini was a poor choice for this environment so there was a golden opportunity missed. Jini has addressed many of the issues, so remember to place the timeline over my life...this was in the 2000/2001 range. I then worked at Retek with a great guy (Hi Richard if your watching) and we worked with XML as an integration platform via a third party tool. The weaknesses of just saying "the solution is XML" were evident, you really wanted the models on top. Finally, J.D. Edwards (a previous employer) was spending quite a bit of time looking at Web Services as an integrating and partnering technology. So, this is a natural extension.
So, in a nutshell, I continue to spend time with Web Services since the implementation and location transparency are offered at the foundation. Further, you can see many other industries moving towards SOAP...I believe WBEM is on a good course to intersect with SOAP soon. I think Web Services have the opportunity to have a lasting, broad, and important impact to the computing industry so its an important technology to stay on top of.
And, a more difficult question, "Why the storage industry". The quick answer is that I followed my "mentor" from IBM to Imation Corporation to work on starting a storage software team. I'm one of those people that believes that "abstractly", software is software is software so you can move around the industry. I DO feel somewhat challenged in the storage industry at times, there are a few interesting issues. For example, you are dealing in a much more "resource"-centric environment rather than a "data"-centric environment (does that sound ironic?). I do work on the storage management side, this is a much more traditional application structure than firmware or drivers...
If you read into my past a bit, the diversity of challenges I've hit are interesting and I've always been positioned on the front-end of technologies...I think this is the result of some STRONG mentors and advocates, especially when I was at IBM. One of the challenges in my career, I felt, was shipping and architecting a product (not a technology or platform component). I had this opportunity by going to Sun and working, for a second time, in the storage industry. Getting the perspective of trying to guide a large team and being able to iterate on architecture in multiple releases has been invaluable to my maturity as an architect. This is why, I think, I've toned down a lot on the grandiose visions of world domination for any technology.
Just to give you one more data point:
- Undergrad - Software Tester tesing IBM's AS/400 PC Support Software
- Graduate - Wrote a filesystem for Linux (storage) and interned on a database team at IBM AS/400 division
- IBM - System Object Model (SOM) for AS/400, SanFrancisco Frameworks (Java), and then componentization of the framework
- Imation Corp - Back to storage and first work with SOAs via Jini/Jiro
- Some business companies - Back to business frameworks and integrating systems....my first experiences with projects that had that "legacy" stuff already around...this was a weakness in SanFrancisco early on, acknowledging that our customers already had software and tons of data out there.
- Sun Micro - Back to storage!
So, I'm kind of cyclic...who knows, maybe back to business software in a few years


Paul B. Monday<br />Author, Web Service Patterns: Java Edition
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Paul, you obviously know and love what you are doing.
That's very refreshing to cynics.
regards
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Following up on Web Services and Storage Solutions :

Do new Storage Solutions have any impact on deploying Web Services in the future or is it sufficient that the patterns described in your book have the right amount of abstraction that any storage solution can be accomodated ?
[I really hate the fact that each time something breaks in my computer (usually a hard disk) I have to change practically everything down to the case to get the components that fit together in the case. I could buy yesterdays component but price-wise it seems silly to pay the same price or more to have yesterday's technology]
I am assuming Enterprise Storage Solutions come with both hard and software packages.
regards
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

How to become a good web services developer?
Paul Monday
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Paul, you obviously know and love what you are doing.
That's very refreshing to cynics.
regards

To be honest, I can be a terrible cynic as well. Some days in the tech industry seem a bit too much like Survivor...you sit and you wonder how "John" (the weasel dude on survivor) makes it so far (this applies to technologies, companies and yes, sometimes people) and then on bad days you wonder if you've turned INTO John
My latest boss drove a basic belief in his organization: What customer problem are you solving? In the end, let's see if I help anyone ;-)
Paul Monday
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Originally posted by HS Thomas:

Do new Storage Solutions have any impact on deploying Web Services in the future or is it sufficient that the patterns described in your book have the right amount of abstraction that any storage solution can be accomodated ?
I am assuming Enterprise Storage Solutions come with both hard and software packages.
regards

What a fascinating question! Most companies have a vision for a tightly integrated vertical stack of software, Sun is among the thought leaders in this area with their N1 strategy and has made a few acquisitions to help along the way. For storage, we have the N1 data platform that helps virtualize SAN storage.
What everyone is driving towards (N1 in a very small nutshell) is the ability to tell your data center the qualities that you need to run a particular service (like a Web Service). Your data center is fully connected through blades, NAS components, SAN components, etc... The provisioning software creates the proper partitions and deploys your services for you.
In the book I did NOT take into account storage and/or storage software. I was really working in and coming out of the business industry over the course of writing most of the book.
As for enterprise solutions, there are a variety of software solutions that come with a storage solution, or can be added. Typically, if you want to do something that crosses multiple boxes (whether it is application to storage or multiple storage devices) you end up paying extra.
Unfortunately, you don't see a lot of this coming into the home. I did calculate that you could put together a nice little 1 Terrabyte Linux NAS for your home (use some simple RAID mirroring built into the OS so you only have 500GB left but you have redundant drives) for about $2500. Set the box in the corner with a reliable wireless and you're talking a bit of storage over there (it won't be the fastest because of the low-bandwidth WIFI and the bottlenecks through translation...but it may be sufficient!) Plus, if a drive goes down you can replace it at your convenience and still access your storage!
Paul Monday
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
How to become a good web services developer?

I hate to be too flippant: in a nutshell, become a good enterprise developer.
Web Services solve a particular problem for customers and are simply another tool in your toolkit. I think the best WS developers will know
- the WS platform and be able to use them from a variety of tools
- when to use WS and when to avoid them
- know how they fit with other enterprise technologies (like J2EE EJBs and JSPs)
- know their role in an application
Most of all, don't forget that you are building a solution for a customer. Don't go into the customer with your toolbox full of one tool (Web Services), go in and decompose the customer's problem, then worry about whether Web Services are the answer. ONCE you've chosen Web Services as a solution, if you have an enterprise customer, be aware of the standard models evolving in their area so you don't try to reinvent the wheel and you don't force your customer into a bad corner of having to bring people to THERE interfaces.
Finally, I can't keep up with everything going on in Web Services. Get the basics and get them well. Maybe pick a tool and let it carry you through the evolution of Web Services if you don't have time to keep up and participate in all of the specs.
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Paul,
Thanks! I find that WebServices is a vast ocean unlike J2EE which is a comparatively smaller domain. Is there any particular area of WebServices which is likely to grow more than others.
Lasse Koskela
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Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
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Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Thanks! I find that WebServices is a vast ocean unlike J2EE which is a comparatively smaller domain. Is there any particular area of WebServices which is likely to grow more than others.
I would say J2EE is by far the bigger domain (remember that web services are part of J2EE, kind of)... The area of web services I think will grow more than others is the business process level. Opinions on this?


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Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

I find lot of articles in web on WebServices and I dont know which one to read. Can you please help me so that I can add Web Services as a part of skill set. Thanks
Paul Monday
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
I would say J2EE is by far the bigger domain (remember that web services are part of J2EE, kind of)... The area of web services I think will grow more than others is the business process level. Opinions on this?

I think there are a few things to be careful of in Web Services:
- WS-I(nterop), watch this space to ensure the things you build are compatible with others
- Then, like Lasse said, business processes. But be aware there are TWO things to watch with respect to business processes a) how to implement a bp in web services and b) what the standard models are for interaction with particular business processes
From an "architecturally" interesting perspective, I like the remote portal work going on (since this could have a dramatic effect on how we assemble applications and it WILL ripple into other platforms) and the bpel-type work since it drives us away from traditional programming.
Does anyone else have any thoughts on what the "high order" important things to follow are?
Paul Monday
Author
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Joined: Aug 28, 2003
Posts: 41
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
I find lot of articles in web on WebServices and I dont know which one to read. Can you please help me so that I can add Web Services as a part of skill set. Thanks

Personally, I would pick one or more well respected portals (based on my WS implementation and goals) and stick to them, perhaps try a specific company's portal and a "general" portal:
- Sun: http://java.sun.com/webservices
- SearchWebServices.com - Sign up for their daily mail...even reading the headers every day gives you a nice summary of what is going on
Finally, I do like the "paper" format since it focuses my time, grab a cup of Java and browse your local Barnes and Noble...
 
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subject: Getting into Web Services