Microsoft Frees Ajax

January 30, 2007

Microsoft has just released ASP.NET AJAX 1.0. This product (formerly known as “Atlas”) integrates cross-browser client script libraries with the ASP.NET 2.0 development framework. ASP.NET AJAX is not just for ASP.NET developers. Developers targeting other server frameworks can take advantage of the Microsoft AJAX Library. This library is a standalone collection of the standards-based JavaScript classes included in ASP.NET AJAX. It’s supported by most popular browsers and can be used to build Web applications that integrate with any backend data provider. This free software can be downloaded here.

With this release, Microsoft joins, albeit late, a crowded market for Ajax related frameworks provided by open source projects, small or large (Google) companies. Market is perhaps not the right word as a vast majority of solutions are available for free. Microsoft product will certainly get some following in the .NET community and this will hurt current providers of paid frameworks like Telerik or zumiPage. With its free client-side library, Microsoft can also appeal to people looking for developers outside the ASP world.

More information on the Web
Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications (original Ajax article)
Wikipedia on Ajax
Wikipedia on Ajax frameworks
Comparison of AJAX frameworks for ASP.NET
Exploring Ajax Runtime Offerings (java oriented)


Enterprise Architecture for Integration

January 23, 2007

This book presents a top-down approach to define an information system architecture at the enterprise level. It begins with a short presentation of the Zachman Framework that is used as the basic tool to analyse enterprise architecture. A first part is then devoted to present approaches used to express the strategy. A second part describes the techniques used to translate the strategic goals at the information system level with data and process modelling. Finally, a third part discusses current technologies and products involved to integrate applications and deploy the enterprise architecture. A CD-ROM is provided with the book. It contains problems and solutions to apply the concepts presented in the book, products information and some modelling tools.

Clive Finkelstein is a founding father of Information Engineering and he continues to apply its principles. The goal is to help large organisations to manage their complex information systems. Being strategic doesn’t imply always multi-years projects. The book states that the enterprise architecture portfolio plan for a large company can be created in 8-12 weeks. It also recommends 2 days workshops to define sub-systems that have a 3 months delivery objective. Many examples are provided in the book.

This book is recommended for people that are managing applications or portfolios of applications at the enterprise level. It provides also valuable knowledge for business analysts/architects with a detailed examination of the data and process modelling activities and the definition of coherent and autonomous sub-systems. The book has close to 500 pages of dense material, but each chapter could be used separately according to your needs.

Get more details on this book or buy it on amazon.com

Get more details on this book or buy it on amazon.co.uk


Orient Open Source Meets Occident

January 18, 2007

January 1, the France-based open-source consortium ObjectWeb merged with the Chinese IT institute OrientWare to create a new entity, called OW2. ObjectWeb was launched in 2002 as a joint project between INRIA, Bull and France Telecom, before evolving to a more global organisation. OrientWare was created in 2004 as a consortium of Chinese universities and software companies.

In September 2005, ObjectWeb and OrientWare signed an agreement by which they committed to share their code base and jointly develop open source middleware software. Among the main open source software solutions developed by OW2 you find Lomboz, Sync4j, eXo Platform, JOnAS, XWiki or Enhydra

This is good that organisations working in the open source area join their forces to produce improved solutions with a global perspective and a worldwide pool of talent. Some major open source projects (Eclipse, JBoss, PHP) have strong commercial companies backing them so I think that this is good to have an organisation with a different perspective involved in the open source world, maybe backing projects that have perhaps less visible commercial impacts


Working with Conferences

January 15, 2007

Methods & Tools and software development conferences share the same objective to provide expert knowledge to the software development community. This is why I always enjoy cooperating with conference organisers. We feature the banners of the conference we support on the main page of our link section.

At the beginning of this year, I am really pleased to announce that Methods & Tools  will be a media partner for the IBM Rational Software Development Conference that will take place in Orlando June 10-14.

The Web site I use the most to “hunt” conferences is DevTownStation.


News from the Worlds

January 9, 2007

Yesterday, I checked on the Web if there are some new interesting sources to get software development news and I found nothing. My usual sources are ComputerWorld and InfoWorld


Who Profits from Free Software?

January 5, 2007

Telelogic has just announced the release of Telelogic Modeler a free Unified Modeling Language (UML) design environment. This entry-level product will allow user with extended needs to migrate to other Telelogic’s products in the same area. Telelogic Modeler is available for download at http://www.telelogic.com/modeling/modeler.

Facing the competition of free open source products, major editors like Microsoft or Oracle have followed the same strategy than Telelogic. They have created free versions of their software development tools. These products are “simplified” versions of the paying product, often minus specific features that are useful for large/complex projects or systems. They hope that people using the free version will one day have unsatisfied needs and that they will migrate to paying versions from the same editor. Time will tell if this strategy is right, but I think that it is facing major issues:

  • The majority of people looking for a free software could not be the one that are more enthusiastic to get it from a commercial editor.
  • Upgrading to a commercial version is not the only solution to get more performance. Open source tools are improving and there are companies interested to increase the power of the open source tools they support. Red Hat is doing this with JBoss in the Web server market. Another example is EnterpriseDB that is building an Oracle-compatible product based on PostgreSQL. In both cases companies are selling services and not software.
  • According to the Pareto principle, 80% of the people should be satisfied with 20% of the features of the original product. Thus migration to a product offering more features could be limited, furthermore if this imply paying for it ;o)

New Year, New Blog ;o)

January 2, 2007

Happy 2007 to everybody


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