Chris Tomkins and I both work on the WebSphere ESB team, and have been blogging about it and related IBM SOA products for some months. We’ve now decided to join forces and launch a new blog called SOA Tips ‘n’ Tricks. This will contain technical tips on ESB and other products as well as wider issues - we don’t know exactly how it will evolve so please feel free to leave us some feedback on the things you read - what you like, and what you don’t.
As Adrian has pointed out, WebSphere ESB 6.0.2 has just been announced. This will be available around the end of the year (together with corresponding new versions of WebSphere Process Server and Websphere Integration Developer). There are a whole host of new features which increase ESB’s capability, as well as other improvements. See Adrian’s post for more information.
WebSphere MQ link allows you to connect WebSphere Application Server (or any WAS-based product, such as WebSphere ESB) to a WebSphere MQ server. From the perspective of MQ, WAS/ESB’s messaging engine appears to be just another MQ server (and, accordingly, you connect them together with sender & receiver channels). From the perspective of WAS/ESB, MQ appears to be a foreign bus. Thus, ‘foreign destinations’ (WAS/ESB) and ‘remote queues’ (MQ) can be used as appropriate to exchange messages across the link.
I am now on the official list of IBM external bloggers. You can find plenty of my colleagues there also, blogging on a variety of IBM-related and other topics.
If you’re using WebSphere ESB, Fixpack 3 for version 6.0.1 has just been released, which fixes a variety of problems. You can find out more here.
One of the troubles of working in the IT industry is that no-one ever agrees on what the next big thing means. This is partly because software terms tend to run out from between your fingers when you try to grab them, just like soft putty - want to try defining ‘blogging’? One example I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is SOA (Service-oriented architecture). The problem isn’t just that people don’t know what SOA means, but that there isn’t a single definition - every software vendor has a subtly different message.
Business Week recently pointed out, in an article linked from Sandy Carter’s SOA blog, that IBM now makes more profit from software than services, which had been our mainstay for a number of years now. I’m not 100% clear on the details (it’s not often I get to look at the big book o' accounts), but it’s good to know that we in IBM Software Group are doing good for the company’s bottom line.
Joe McKendrick discusses SOA and reuse in a recent blog entry, essentially drawing on some comments from David Chappell that reuse didn’t do as well as predicted in the era of object-orientation, and that SOA isn’t faring well in this department either. Dave Linthicum, in his latest podcast, also discusses this topic. I’m not sure I can comment that widely on the state of current SOA projects, and I would agree that SOA may suffer from similar management problems to that of object-orientation: if developers of SOA systems aren’t rewarded for saving time with a reuse strategy, they won’t be enthused to do so.
I’ve just received my IBM special edition of Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies. It’s shorter than the regular book, but is free - so you can use this link and order one yourself. It only covers the basics of SOA, and doesn’t dive into depth on ESBs, SCA, or any particular product, but despite being so general, it’s nevertheless worth a read if you’re looking for a good introduction to what SOA is all about.
Andre Tost has written a short, but very helpful, article that clarifies a few of the more confusing issues surrounding Web Services. None of the concepts are particularly new, but Andre provides a good summary of some potential pitfalls. It’s well worth reading if you’re interested in SOA or ESBs in general, as well as Web Services specifically. As an aside, I found this article as part of the WebSphere ESB support RSS feed.