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Showing posts from September, 2003

Web Services: "How we gonna get these here machines to talk to each other"

Web services are certainly the buzz de jour and have had quite a bit of sustaining power over the past couple of years. Many seem to think that this it is all very exciting, whilst newcomers seem very intimidated by it all. This is understandable, given: Web services are about the biggest alphabet soup of standards to date Open up most any XML file – enough said While in fact the point of web services is that they are very simple. In order to recognize this, it is important to take a historical perspective of the computer industry, namely “how we gonna get these here machines to talk to each other?” Phase 1 – Dig a TrenchIn the 1970s, the early days of computers, getting two computers to talk to each other was pretty straightforward. You laid a physical wire between the two machines, developed a proprietary protocol, messed around on either end for a while, and presto, the two machines could talk to each other! Needless to say, this was very expensive and cumbersome, and machines gene…

Application servers 2004: A big muffin in a donut world

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After my time at JRad, NetDynamics and Sun, I have been thinking about how application servers originated, what they were meant to do, and where they are going. Application Servers, 1995-1997With the advent of the “Internet” age in 1995, all of a sudden corporate resources had to be available to HTML/HTTP clients. The HTML/HTTP clients were very different from previous clients in that they represented numerous intermittent connections, while in the previous client/server world there were generally a fixed number of clients with constant connections. For example, an internal HR system that was built to support 30 HR reps and perhaps scale to 50 HR reps over the next couple of years was going to crawl if it all of a sudden had to handle 100,000 employees doing employee self-service during 401K election time, with each connection building and then tearing down a connection to the database. Application servers were introduced to solve this problem. App servers would maintain a few open co…

The next language

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A version of this post was also published in Dr. Dobb's.
After almost 9 years of programming in Java, I have been thinking about where Java is going and how it fits into the continuum of programming languages in the enterprise. Evolution of Corporate Systems and LanguagesJava falls into the category of the corporate language – a computer language and system used by corporations to run their business. To understand how corporate languages evolve, it is important to match them to evolution of corporate computing platforms. Corporate platforms evolved from mainframes to minicomputers to client/server to Internet and now to Grid (parallel Linux white boxes). In each transition, a dominant player emerged, as shown in the following chart:
As corporate computing platforms shifted, the corporate language of choice had a tendency to shift as well. The hey-day was during the client/server era, when there were numerous popular languages, including Visual BASIC, Delphi (a Pascal derivative), Po…