User as center of the Universe

I am slowly catching up with some articles I read and over which I wanted to comment. I am dealing with this one SOA needs RIA – Burton Group, because there are few sentences I liked and because it lacks, in my opinion, a proper “end”.

The Value Hierarchy of Web 2.0So, here are the quotes I liked most:

  • “We firmly believe the user experience needs to be a first level priority at the same level as SDLC, platform languages, SOA and security.”
  • “If the business depends on people and people depend on information technology, then the interface between people and information technology — the user interface — naturally has to be very good. If you have an ineffective user interface, you’re going to have a less effective organization.”
  • “…people are the platform. IT is ephemeral. It continues to change over time, but what does not change in business is that the quality of any organization depends on the quality of its workers.”
  • If developers think the goal of SOA is to provide agility in assembling loosely coupled Web services into an application that provides real-time sales data to managers and marketers, they are missing a key component in the Burton view:  “The idea is to make user experience the end goal of any IT initiative and not an afterthought.”

http://hinchcliffe.org/img/useruniversecenter.jpg

I, personally, subscribe to all the above statements. They remember me a very nice article I read a couple of years ago, from Dion Hinchcliffe, titled The Web2.0 Trinity: People, Data and Great Software. The pictures in this post are both taken from Dion’s article, and I use them consistently in my talks around Web2.0 and the evolution of Desktop technologies.

Going forward, there is another quote that my few readers may appreciate:

“We see the next step as RIAD, the rich Internet application desktop. Here you need to look at Adobe AIR, Google Gadgets, the Microsoft Widget Library, to see resident applications that provide you with a visual experience associated with RIA.”

This is even more close to what I have often written in my blog: moving beyond the browser (as we see it today) towards a mechanism where applications, delivered via the web, will be executed locally. GREAT !

What seems missing to me is the very last part of the article

In Burton’s view, the future of the UXP is in using Web widgets, portable chunks of code and gadgets, miniature objects that can be placed on a Web page to provide dynamic content.

With widgets and gadgets, real-time sales data is on the sales manager’s desktop without requiring him to do multiple click-throughs to find a table or chart, the Burton analyst said.

What I think is missing is the name to this approach, a name which already exists. It is called Mashups, isn’t it? What is needed is the possibility to define those widgets in a standard way and be able to mix and match them in different contexts: a Portal, a Mashup environment, a Rich Client, the desktop even….

What a surprise: Oracle says WebLogic is its future strategic server

Today I received on of the newsletter to which I subscribe. I read it because of an article which seemed to be very interesting “Oracle says Weblogic is its future strategic server”.
In the beginning, I liked this assertion “To many, the Oracle products seemed a mere adjunct to its data base”. Great! I like it!

The author, then, references the article Oracle re-brands BEA WebLogic as its strategic server for SOA. In this article, there is an even better quote, from Bloomberg:

“If you read between the lines, when Oracle now says ‘Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition is the application server of choice’, what they mean is that the application server they had before the BEA acquisition, to put it mildly, wasn’t the application server of choice — for just about anybody”.

🙂

How to be an instant Web me-2.0 developer

This article [1] [1] from Verity Stob [2] [2] at The Register [3] [3] made me laughing!  How true it is in many aspects.

I really liked it all, but I think I will use these two pictures in my next Web2.0 presentation to present the difference between Web1.0 and Web2.0:

Block diagram showing Web 1.0 program architecture Architecture diagram illustrating the confusion inherent in Web 2.0 applications

Of course, I was also laughing (and strongly agreeing) with those other comments:

  • Java Applets ?
    I bet Sun hopes that everybody had forgotten
  • Google Web Kit (GWT)
    Eughh! what were they thinking ?
  • Dojo
    Perhaps come back in a year, if they make a design environment to go with.

As to the last sentence on Dojo, I think that it is really something we may need to consider. We need to hide the complexity [4] [4] of Dojo behind some easy-to-use design environment which would make it possible for more people to enter the game.

BPM’s place in the upcoming decade of corporate change

I read this quote from Lombardi‘s president Phil Gilbert. I think it deserves a post:

BPM is the scalable program by which a company develops and maintains a capability for change. By “capability for change” I mean: having a corporate culture that will actively embrace change, without fear, and work to make that change good. Today, most cultures actively reject change, until forced by market conditions into it. And while companies are finding that the technologies of a BPMS ((roughly characterized as model-based design, business rules, business intelligence, business activity monitoring, and workflow) help, they don’t solve the cultural problem of people embracing change. The maturity of today’s BPMSs… may reduce the development time of a process application from, say, 90 days to 89 days. But it still takes months for a business case to get approved to charter the project. It still takes weeks to roll-out the new application. It still takes a year to get budget.

From Internet to Oligarchy

The recent announcement of Microsoft’s intention to buy Yahoo! is, in my opinion, marking the end of the short, initial period during which the Internet was populated by different subjects. During these initial 15 years, the proliferation of different subjects, all fighting against everybody else to gain market share, was allowing independent producers to break in and to find niches not yet occupied by the principal subjects (which were too much busy in fighting….).

The Yahoo! acquisition will, at the end, create a de-facto oligarchy. The two actors (Microsoft and Google) will split their dominance on the world of the Internet thus, de-facto, preventing independent forms of content production to flourish.

The fault of this lays, in my opinion, on the weakness with which the Business and Political worlds accepted the enormous power of Google.

  • It is very sad to see that, instead of facilitating more democracy and competition (and, thus innovation!) by forcing a split of Google or by empowering a non-profit organization for managing the “Internet Search” business, the lack of governance of this fundamental aspect of the modern world (the Internet) allowed the creation of this oligarchy.
  • It is sad to see that, from now on, opposing to Google would imply choosing Microsoft!
  • It will be interesting to understand which effects this new situation will have on IT departments and on the “providers of IT departments” (editors, consulting firms, outsourcing…)
    Will a more safe dominant position in the Internet area (with all the cash flow that could happen from that) change the way in which Microsoft will approach and will be approached by IT shops?

Dreaming of Hiding the Complexity

Whilst the software products are geared towards making people executing things in a more effective way and allowing people to execute things that were not possible before (I agree, this is not always something good… we would live better without some of the software creatures…), I have always thought that the goal of the technology behind the software results (i.e. the technology that allows the production of software) would be to allow the artists (i.e. the developers) to do their job in the best possible conditions.

I remember how much I loved the VMS operating system (from Digital), the powerful CASE environment that was implemented on that operating systems (ah, Language Sensitive Editor…) and the Common Language Runtime.
I also remember how easy and natural it was, a life later, to develop distributed Service Oriented applications in the Forté environment (where Service Orientation and scalability was built inside the language framework itself). The motto from Forté was “Hiding the Complexity” and, indeed believe me, they couldn’t have been chosen a better motto!

Today I have read one of the “2008 predictions articles” and I was hit by the last item:

13. The next big thing. Software development will change to a wider use of code generators. Forget about heavy frameworks, regardless of what programming language you use.  In a simple case, use some XML style sheets combined with the metadata that describes your application objects to automatically generate the code for these objects. On a larger scale, the entire application may be described using metadata and XML, and an appropriate code generator will do the job. So programming will change from writing tedious code that requires lots of coders to describing the metadata and writing custom code generators.

I know, this will remain a dream: Rubik's Cube GameWhy steal the pleasure of fighting against the complexity of building a program that would let the author being proud of the many hours he spent in debugging it and in having a presentation that looks likee what he would have wanted ….?

 

Hiding the complexity and allowing the artist to express his creativity in addressing the solution to a problem (instead than in debugging, in challenging multithreading or fighting against the geometry manager) would be something nice to dream.

P.S.The Author has, also, some interesting observation on Java, AJAX and Flex/AIR.

From "You" to "Them"

Of course, this is NOT the official cover for the POY of Times. But it is a very interesting story (thanks Dvir for having sent the pointer). Quoting the article from Times:

[timePOY_coverImage.jpg]"Don’t get me wrong: all the things that made You You in 2006 are still there. All year long, You were YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering, chronicling Your life and community, scrutinizing the candidates and the media, videotaping Yourself getting upset on behalf of Britney Spears.

But who made the big noise in the Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen — all of Them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right? You make the discoveries, They make the Benjamins.

So if 2006 was the year of You, 2007 was the year of Them. Big media companies (like this one) stuffed their sites with blogs, podcasts and video. "

This is, actually, true. And I think that, overall, this has been a good progress for everybody.

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