Please note: This blog is no longer updated and has moved to a new location: Scott Mark.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Burton Panel - iPhone for the Enterprise (?)

If you are a Burton Group subscriber, you might be aware that Burton is holding a telebriefing panel today on the topic of "iPhone for the Enterprise", which should be good.  It sounds like a bit of a REST/SOA point-counterpoint with some panelists stumping for the iPhone and others chopping it down.

I have not yet experience the iPhone (but will next week at Office 2.0), so don't have an informed opinion.  Everything I hear sounds like it has a rich browsing experience, and also that Apple is putting forth a good effort to build a development ecosystem around the platform.  So who knows, maybe it could happen.

I still think the biggest hurdle at large companies is the perception that the iPhone is just a must-have consumer device.  Of course, you can play music and video on many smartphones, but this is where Apple's propensity to do it too much better than everyone else backfires.  Do you just want to watch DVDs, or are you getting some work done?

The killer app for the iPhone, against Windows Mobile at least, is stability.  If Apple can nail the stability game, go enterprisey when it comes to device management, and get a development ecosystem going, who knows...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Enterprise 2.0 Track Shaping Up

The agenda for the Enterprise 2.0 track at Office 2.0 is shaping up, and looks to be very interesting.  As I mentioned, I will be on one of the customer panels along with Miko Coffey, Doug Marshall, and Lee White (check out Lee's Social Media presentation) discussing "The End User as Web Practioner".  The Knowledge Worker 2.0 session looks good, as well as a session on Mindmapping.  I'm also interested in Shel's discussion on SAP Global Social Media Research- a strategic imperative at SAP... wow.

In comments around the Office 2.0 site, I have seen that compliance is an issue on people's minds with 2.0 technology.  This is a topic of great interest to me, working in a regulated industry.  We have to be very keen on compliance, and have dealt with this issue on collaborative technology, so I'm hoping to share my thoughts and learn from others in this area.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Speaking at Office 2.0

Thanks to Ismael Ghalimi and Susan Scrupski, I will speaking at the Office 2.0 conference in September. I am very excited to be part of this panel, and am looking forward to hearing from others about successes and challenges of bringing Web 2.0 to large enterprises. This track looks like a great lineup! OK, I'm biased...

This will also be a great chance to finally meet some people that I have been tracking for awhile now, or need to start tracking. On my short list are Ismael, Steve O'Grady, Dion Hinchcliffe, Om Malik, and Stowe Boyd.

Hope to see some others of you there, otherwise I will be blogging from the event.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Burton Group Catalyst 2007 Live Blogging

I have expressed my affection in the past for Burton Group's analysis and have called out certain analysts in particular such as Richard Monson-Haefel and Mike Gotta who provide world class analysis, but also very accessible blog content.

Burton might not be as radically different as my other favortite analyst firm RedMonk, but they get it.  They are promoting community taggging for the Catalyst conference this week in San Francisco.  I hope any bloggers in attendance pick up on this, and I hope they are making this idea prominent at the conference.

You can subscribe to the Technorati-tagged posts here.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Global Romp and the Daily Grind

Ditto what Phil said.

I am currently working with a team based in Asia Pacific, and it's ... so many things. I sought this assignment and am loving it for everything that I'm learning out of it. But the jet-set lifestyle it's not. What it is instead, is an always-on, what-time-is-it-somewhere else continuum that you drift through. Work intersperses with your personal life in a weird way, and upsets the traditional schedule that's often expected of you from US-oriented colleagues.

I have trapsed to Shanghai, Tokyo, and Sydney and enjoyed them all. But junkets they were not. They are intense learning experiences, mentoring opportunities, project jam sessions, and social outings cum business meetings. They are long working days, and short sleep-adjusting nights. And you often make the mistake of checking email when you get back to your hotel room - yikes!

You take a lunch break, but you also take a dinner break. You are back on the phone after kids are in bed. You start taking your free time in the US afternoon, and you leave early Friday afternoon (Saturday in Asia) because you are starting early Sunday night (Monday morning in Asia).

Is this what we have all signed up for with globalization? Maybe the Eastern Standard Tribe is not so far off. 没问题 - I'm on board.

Posted at: 1:15pm Shanghai, 2:15pm Tokyo, 3:15pm Sydney - tomorrow.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Gotta Gets It

I made the egregious mistake of letting something like 33 Gotta posts getting stacked up in BlogLines - serious mistake if you actually want to read him. Mike has some of the meatiest posts in my sub list. More importantly, Mike actually gets the enterprise and deftly approaches many meme-quality topics with incisive analysis on what they mean to large enterprises. Welcome comfort to us enterprisey folk.

Here are a couple of great Gotta reads...

What If A "Mob" Ruled Your Company? I sort of followed the recent Digg issue, but wasn't as impressed as a lot of others were with Digg's position. I actually shared Mike's reaction to a large extent. I like the crowd, but I fear the mob. Mike is right - there is a razor thin line.

Enterprise 2.0: Honeywell Explores Value Of Intranet Tagging Mike is one of a small handful that actually shares examples of 2.0 in the enterprise rather than just pontificating. Honeywell using Connectbeam? Cool.

Talking TDD and Agile on RedMonk Radio with Coté

Coté and I talked Agile the other day for an episode of RedMonk Radio.  He was kind enough to invite me into the studio as a result of my recent chapter in an Agile SQA book.  We started off covering TDD and the book, but quickly got in more general topics on Agile "in the wild" as Coté would say.

Coté - you self-criticize in your post about editorializing, but you actually do a good job directing a conversation and keeping it moving.  Hey man, we're in the post-modern world and interviewers are allowed to be part of the conversation.  Social dichotomies are so 1.0!  I did like the setup reference to your secret mental file - a special bonus to listeners who can identify that.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Actually Good Podcast On SOA

So I am woefully behind on all of my technology podcast listening ever since I discovered JapanesePod101.  But if you have not already done so, you need to go out and listen to the RedMonk / NetManage podcast from RmR on Incremental SOA.

James and Cote talk to Archie Roboostoff of NetManage and actually discuss small scale, bottom up SOA implementations as a viable approach!  It's refreshing - though a meaty SOA strategy does require some amount of top down support, you can still have a get-things-done attitude and deliver.


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Friday, April 20, 2007

New Book - Agile Software Development Quality Assurance

The book Agile Software Development Quality Assurance was just published this week:

I contributed a chapter on Test-Driven Development, written from an industry perspective. Many other contributions were academic in nature - interesting in their own right, but I was pleased to add an on-the-ground flavor to the book.

I was shocked at the pricing however - evidently IGI only likes shelf space in select university libraries. My next publishing endeavor will no doubt be more consumer-friendly.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

REST API for Java - But Will It Be Simple Enough to Actually Be RESTful?

Following Cote's links, I found that there is a JSR proposed for a RESTful Web Services API. It would be ludicrous for this JSR to not be voted in, so let's assume it will go forward and become a massively committee-driven document someday, perhaps even accompanied by a reference implementation. The burning question on my mind is: will it actually be simple enough to use?

Hopefully, the JCP learned it's lesson from the community fallout on WS-* Java APIs. And hopefully it has learned from the RoR community that developer productivity rather than infinite pluggability is actually a key requirement. Think Spring and DI, not commercial black box components and SPIs.

So let's see if they can actually pull off an API that lacks the following:

  • Factory classes for roundabout instantiation
  • Manager classes for implementation abstraction
  • Engine classes for what should be behind the scenes servicing
  • Interface/Implementation pairing ad nauseum (I'm so done with the Bridge pattern)
  • Pluggable runtime providers - how about just provide a good one OOTB and be done with it?

Can they possibly do it without the same old, tired patterns?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Alan Pelz-Sharpe Nails Enterprise Architecture in 10 Notes

I have been tracking CMS Watch for some untold number of years now (I don't even want to count them up and date myself), and love it even though CM / ECM is no longer the center of my universe as it once was.

Along comes Alan and he nails just about every problem in Enterprise Architecture in 10 short points!!! He presents it as an ECM list, but accurately notes at the end that you can substitute just about any E* problem domain in place of ECM and the list holds. A couple of my favorites:

"You have allowed your users to dump content into your repository without concern for process, rules or structure, and now its a humongous mess"

"You are running a centralized system but really should have a distributed one"

"Your developers had to fiddle extensively with your ECM platform, and two software versions later it doesn't play nicely anymore with anything"

I'm loving it - this is one for the wall...

CMS Watch has done a fantastic job over the years demystifying the technology of ECM, and repeatedly pointing readers back to the people and process concerns that are the key to ECM success and the most frequent afterthoughts.

It's also very cool to see what Tony has been turning this firm into in the last couple of years - it's clearly gaining traction. I always thought the insight was high quality to begin with, but they are conducting more and more surgical strikes on a wider area - search and portals among them. Keep it up, gang. Readers - start tracking this feed if you aren't already.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ajax Widget Interop, Micropayment Economics, and Our Collective Grim Future

Anne Zelenka caught my attention with her recent posts about Ajax start pages - be sure to check these out.

Tim Peter's right that ad-supported widgets are micropayments on a couple of levels - content providers are paying distributors micropayments for impressions and clickthroughs, and then I'm paying as a consumer with a drain on my attention. I guess what I am fearing is a world where each widget provider offers free and paid versions, so as a consumer I'm not signed up for a paid version of a single start page (a la NetVibes) that's ad free, but rather I'm stuck making micropayments to multiple widgeteers if I want ad-free versions of their widgets on whatever start page. Yikes!

Until there are standards or semi-standards for how to produce Ajax widgets that will work on a variety of start pages, this could be the grim future.

Rich Campoamor is right on about the JSR 168 portlet spec. In the original spec (I don't know where it ended up), all of the meaty UI specs (such as standard CSS style names that would let you add a measure of coherence to an aggregated portlet start page) were an appendix and an afterthought to the spec. I'm not optimistic about Ajax widget interop... but like I said I'm too cynical.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Best Mashups Mix Cultures

Not just applications and data... so said Jon Udell to wrap up his announcement about his new gig.  Jon couldn't have phrased that better, and I couldn't agree more.  Jon was making a larger point about language and platform dogmatism versus solution-oriented pragmatism.  Being well-known for his transparency and openness, he is turning heads for going somewhere that most people have associated with being opaque and closed.  But he gets the fact that Ozzie is changing the direction of that ship, and perhaps he will do so too.

I myself have been down various roads of being a technology dogmatist.  At various times I have ruthlessly and arrogantly defended technologies that I was comfortable with.  But more and more I see them as just so many mineral deposits that all clog the same faucet.  Sometimes there is a right tool for a job.  More often there are various tools that could adequately do the job, but always there is contextualization of tools.  I want my value to be as a conduit for delivering, and less of being a lofty wonk or a one-size-fits-all punisher.

Sidenote:  I want a job with a title of Evangelist someday!  I currently work for an extremely cool employer and believe in the work that I do, but who doesn't think ahead to their next move.  I have long thought that my next stop would be as an industry analyst, but maybe evangelist is a better fit.  I'm an evangelist today here, but no one is paying me and the focus is nebulous.  And too many evangelists come off as being gilded sales reps.  Maybe Jon will change that persona, and recast the coolness surrounding tech evangelism... we'll see and I'll be watching.


Wired | Tired | Expired - Enterprisey Edition

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, no?  I have loved Wired's W/T/E lists from the beginning of my subscription way back when.  Here is my installment:

Wired MOA
Tired POA
Expired SOA


Wired Jon Udell at Microsoft
Tired Ray Ozzie at Microsoft
Expired Mini-Microsoft at Microsoft


Wired centralized identity management
Tired DES-encrypted passwords in RDBMSs
Expired persistent cookies with personal data


Wired Swarm-oriented, auction-based in-sourcing in the US
Tired Partnering in China
Expired Outsourcing to India


Wired CC-licensed content with concurrent online/offline releases
Tired file sharing
Expired DRM

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Identity Blog at Burton Group

If you haven't seen it yet, Burton Group has a new Identity Blog, and I'm sure it will be great, based on what I have seen in their research and individual blogs. I am a huge Burton Group fan, and strongly recommend subscribing if you are a technology decision maker.

The quality is high, but there are a 2 key things that set Burton apart from other large firms, and make me a fan. One is that they provide seriously in-depth research rather than just uber high-level summaries and pretty charts. The other is that they provide enterprise licensing, so anyone in your organization can browse and access research. Very 2.0 don't you think?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Power Of Process Is Shipping

I provided a dust jacket endorsement for Kiran Garimella's new book:  The Power of Process: Unleashing the Source of Competitive Advantage which is now shipping from Amazon.

This is an interesting title - it's a work of business fiction that helps explain some of the thinking, language, and acronyms around SOA and BPM in a lighthearted manner.  If you are a developer or just interested in technical reading this book is not for you.  However if you are a manager, enterprise architect, or another type who needs to either learn more about those topics at a high level or get some talking points to talk to a less technical audience then this book is for you.  It's a refreshing change from a lot of drier technical books and a quick read.

Kiran is also blogging on behalf of his new employer, so also check that out.


More Thoughts on ESBs and Routers

Todd Biske and Mark both had some meaty comments on my ESB post from the other day - they in fact eclipsed the value of the original post!  (Which is great.)

Their blogs are both great reads if you are in market for architecture blogs.

Matt Raible Wins Class Award at CSS

Matt Raible wins the class award at the Colorado Software Summit this week.  A big part of the conference are the collective evening Q&A sessions and then breakout BOF (birds of a feather) sessions.  There is a bulleting board where people can post BOF topic ideas, and others add their name if they are interested.

On Tuesday someone asked at the Q&A why there wasn't a general session on Spring this year.  Matt's reponse from the audience was that he has a week's worth of Spring training material already prepared, and he would be glad to distilll it down and do a Spring BOF / presentation some evening.  FIrst round goes to Matt.

At the Q&A last night, there was some discussion around whether the Spring BOF should be on Wednesday or Thursday, with some people from the audience favoring Wednesday.  Matt chimes in and says that he originally suggested Thursday because then he can get some copies of his book shipped up to give away at the BOF!  Followed by a round of applause...

Sure geeks are suckers for free stuff, but Matt gets bonus points for class.  It's a tiring week already when you are presenting here and he's going the extra mile for his community.  Very cool, Matt.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting to the Hard Facts About SOA

There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt around SOA these days.  Many SOA discussions drift off into the ether due to poor definition or attempts to reify a meme rather than deal in the concrete.

Fortunately some folks are trying to clear the air and get down to the real SOA Facts.


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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CSS Bloggers

Here are some other bloggers at the Colorado Software Summit this week that I'm aware of, some are blogging the conference:

Update:  How could I forget Ron

Update 2:  And Brian!

XSLT Is The Skeleton Key for Roach Motels

That phrase dawned on me at some point yesterday during CSS presentations - it seems like the entire world is being configured in XML.  Just about any enterprise software and many development frameworks have their configs in XML, I have even started to see benchmarks on apps that included lines of code together with lines of XML - it's been elevated to a first class citizen in code metrics!  But the fact is that it's becoming less and less runtime config and more and more business logic codification.

So I think that any enterprise developer worth their salt will build and maintain skills in XSLT, XPath, and XQuery.  These are not the hot technical skills that will raise your bill rate or necessarily float your resume to the top of the pile.  But I think they are going to be seen as core skills before too long.  And you just might be the superhero who rescues your team someday when migrating away from a mountain of proprietary XML configs.


Monday, October 23, 2006

ESBs vs. Smart Routers

I went to a great presentation by Paul Fremantle about building an ESB using Synapse.  Paul is a co-founder of and VP at WSO2 and very sharp.  He did a great job distilling down the key pieces of Synapse and what it looks like to define service endpoints and do transformations.  Synapse deals in various messaging formats like a good ESB, but made the interesting decision to internally treat everything as a SOAP message.  If you make a REST call into the ESB, it internally gets wrapped as a SOAP message so you can add headers, reply tos, etc.  Probably makes for a more sane server-side model.

But an audience member at the end asked what I consider to be a very prescient question about overlap with capabilities that are continually being added to routers - things like content based routing and filtering.  Depending on who you talk to, BPM is supposed to be handled outside the ESB and the ESB should focus on lower level services like routing, filtering, and transformation.  I can't help but think that ESBs are hot for that right now mainly because it's much easier to innovate and collaborate in the software domain.  It seems to me that ESBs are almost commodity out of the gates, and these needs will ultimately be met in the firmware/hardware domain.

Could smarter routers just end up being the deployment node for more elaborate ESB-like routing and filtering logic?  Will ESBs (if they are limited to that low level) survive much longer when the hardware can ultimately do it faster?


Governance 2.0

According to tradition, John Soyring, a VP at IBM, gave the keynote at CSS this morning and did not disappoint.  John toured a wide variety of disruptive influences on the current technology market - the first baby boomers turning 60 this year, the voracious appetite that developing economies (China and India receiving key mention) have for raw materials, and all of the * 2.0 disrupters.

He spoke a lot about SOA governance which is of current interest to me, but imagine my surprise when he also brought up long tails as a target of enterprise interest, which is a declared interest of mine.  He also covered mashups as a key enterprise intiative, and posited it as the business end of SOA (my words, not his).  I was reminded of Brenda's Office 2.0 podcast.

I asked a question about how traditional enterprise governance practices will need to change from what was needed to manage a portfolio of software assets to practices for managing services and mashup components.  John and his colleague David Barnes actually had refreshingly good answers to that.  They talked about the importance of managing services for shareability and enhanceability.  But they also talked frankly about the fact that mashups are often on the experimental end of the spectrum and that part of improved governance is going to have to be around learning to harvest enterprise-quality assets from the mashup incubators.  Embrace the enterprise incubators rather than scold them.



On the Ground at CSS 2006

I'm settled in at Keystone for this year's Colorado Software Summit.  If you haven't been before, this is a fantastic developer conference, rich with content and extremely casual.  The format is unique: 90-minute sessions and each topic is offered 3 times during the week.  So you are hard presssed to miss a topic, though there are certainly enough good ones you just might have to choose at some point.

I'm glad to see some less-than-enterprisey topics like Ruby and scripting on the menu this year; there is always plenty of SOA.  But just as great are the hallway and fireplace conversations and the famous evening Q&A sessions.  It might not be hard science, but I think the audience polls at the evening sessions are probably more telling than a lot of the "research" in industry mags.  It says something when people are willing to trek this far and there isn't even vendor schwag involved!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tagging inside the Enterprise

I pined awhile back about using tagging inside the enterprise.  I still think that for a lot of * 2.0 hype, this is potentially a big hit to dealing with the volumes of disconnected content that enterprises never seem interested in gardening cleanly from an enterprise information architecture standpoint.

Then I heard about Connectbeam through a comment on Sandy's podcast for the Office 2.0 Podcast Jam.  This is available as either a subscription service or an appliance for enabling tagging behind the firewall.  Good enterprisey features include LDAP integration, which is a must for authorization, and commenting.

Not to take anything away from these good folks, but aren't there frameworks available yet for tagging so that enterprises can at least start experimenting to build a business case?  I haven't started looking yet, but if anyone knows about Java-based tagging frameworks, I'm all ears...


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blog Hiatus

I have been on a serious hiatus lately from both blogging and blog reading, and frankly it's great. It's high time for me to re-think my blogging habits and my subs. This comment from Chris Coulter on Scoble's blog nailed it - just don't start!!

I also can't find the reference right now, but Bill de hÓra had a very cool GTD-like suggestion awhile back around organizing subs into daily/weekly/monthly reading folders. I seriously need to do that.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Office 2.0 Podcast Jam is On

It's official - the Office 2.0 Podcast Jam Is On! Anne tossed out the idea recently (you really need to read the full comment thread on that fantastic post) and the idea has got legs. She called my bluff and I'm in, along with a bunch of other bloggers/writers/podcasters (far more interesting than I).

If BarCamp is the original unconference, then a podcast jam by non-participants is the new ununconference. I will be podcasting on Office 2.0 For The Enterprisey, and have some thoughts down already. Please share yours if you have something to contribute, or have questions I should address. Also, please followup with Anne (or me if you prefer, but she's the real brains behind this) if you are interested in contributing a podcast.

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David Rees (heart)s the minutemen, too!

I previously mentioned that I'm a huge fan of the minutemen, and recently picked up we jam econo (which you are advised to purchase). I have only made it through part of disc 1 but it's fantastic. They have great live footage and interviews with other musicians (Flea, John Doe, Greg Ginn, etc.) spliced in with a recent in-car interview with Mike Watt as he conducts a driving tour of San Pedro. Very fun.

But imagine my surprise when my favorite writer/cartoonist/artist David Rees showed up with a raving endorsement! I discovered David through my new filing technique is unstoppable a few years back. I don't know what to make of the fact that I find his writing to be incredibly amusing and even deep and thought provoking. But I thought it was seriously cool to see him on we jam econo - another reason to like you, David!

Caution:Do not follow the link to David Rees' site if you are offended by seriously foul language, or if you are sensitive about people making fun of (what might be) your political beliefs. If you fall into one of those categories, you will be tremendously upset.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

China and the Swarm

China. In a word: wow. I was only there a week, but I feel like my brain swelled with information and experience. It was stimulating from the word go - from my first ride to the airport to my last. I had a fairly empty slate going in, I really wasn't sure quite what to expect. I came away knowing just a little more, but with amazing expectations for what is yet to come.

China is amazing in many ways to me. For one thing, it's an incredibly pedestrian society. It's lightweight and limber at the lowest levels. Buildings are literally flying up all around Shanghai, and yet you see the bricks arrive on site via handcart and bicycle basket. I can't imagine the amount of goods in China that are hauled around by individuals rather than machines. Is that inefficient, or the product of a behind society? I don't think so. I think it's amazingly limber and responsive. The West is in the process of trying to discover or re-discover the swarm. China is the swarm.

China is tenacious and the pace of growth is unbelievable. While geotagging photos in flickr, I had trouble finding locations because where I visited a mall or a skatepark (note the construction in the background), the flickr map shows an empty field. Peeking out the window in Shanghai, you see yesterday's thoughts being erected all around you. I'm sure if and when I go back, it will be even bigger, more amazing, and more modern that it was last week - even if I'm back next week. It's an unbelievable pace and a place that is constantly re-inventing itself.

In Shanghai you don't exactly buy the place you live - you purchase a 70-year lease that cannot be handed down to your heirs. So if your kids want to live where they grew up, they need to re-buy it when the lease it up. But don't worry, say the locals, by that time they will have knocked it down and built something altogther new. Is there permance in Shanghai?

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