In a development that reminds me of the Avalanche consortium of corporate open source users, this is an academic effort to avoid the high costs of commercial EAI brokers…

Developers at the University of Illinois are working on a major upgrade to their Java-based OpenEAI project, an Open Source alternative to expensive and proprietary ERP/EAI middleware solutions.

The OpenEAI framework 4.0 is due for release in March, is modeled after Apache, and sports a wide array of integration-enabling technologies for architects and developers, including templates, business workflow rules and components for Java, XML and ERP APIs.

The 4.0 upgrades on tap look to fill in support for XML Schema and key JDKs, but also bring added testing, visibility and management to the OpenEAI suite.

(from OpenEAI 4.0 News Story)

Read more

I believe 2004 was a turning-point year for web-based applications, or weblications:

I have the feeling that we’ve turned a corner, and that more “only obvious in hindsight” web-based application tricks will be developed in the years to come — thereby solidifying The Web As A Platform and continuing the spread of The Web Way as more users become True Believers who won’t give up their web-based applications no matter how hard the “fat, rich client” camps try.

The future looks bright for webdev, in part thanks to Google, as Joyce pointed out

ACM’s analysis of the article, Computer Magazine – Are Web Services Finally Ready to Deliver?, follows.

ACM News Service

“Are Web Services Finally Ready to Deliver?”
Computer (11/04) Vol. 37, No. 11, P. 14; Leavitt, Neal

Standards organizations and industry consortia are working on Web services specifications, but without the presence of an all-encompassing authority, developers are unsure of what standards they will support in the long term, according to Evans Data analyst Joe McKendrick. Groups include the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), whose early Web services specs often concentrated on low-level, core functionality; the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), whose focus has been on security, authentication, registries, business process execution, and reliable messaging; the Liberty Alliance, whose mission is to develop an open standard for federated network identity that complies with all existing and emergent network devices; and the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I), which releases guidelines and tools to help developers create software enabled for existing Web services specs (the WS-I Basic Security Profile and WS-Federation, for example), and has been working to address interoperability problems by encouraging collaboration among Web services vendors. OASIS is examining BEA, SAP, and IBM’s Business Process Execution Language for Web services spec as a possible business process automation standard, while a subgroup of the W3C is developing Web Services Choreography Description Language 1.0 as a standard set of rules governing the interaction of different components and their sequential arrangement. Of the two rival reliable messaging specs, WS Reliable Messaging and WS-Reliability, only the latter has been sent to a standards body, and Hitachi’s Eisaku Nishiyama reports that proponents of both specs are attempting to arrive at a compromise. A survey from Evans Data indicates that developers are split nearly 50-50 on whether multiple competing standards could hinder Web services deployment, though W3C’s Philipe Le Hegaret doubts this will stifle the adoption of Web services.

CNET on CommerceNet:

A mysterious bidder paid $15.5 million Monday in a bankruptcy court auction of dozens of Internet-related patents–and then rushed out of the courtroom.

On the United States Bankruptcy Court auction block were 39 patents owned by Commerce One, a bankrupt software company in Santa Clara, Calif., that’s in the process of shutting down and liquidating its assets.

The patents cover a set of key technical protocols known as Web services, a popular method for exchanging business documents over the Internet. The protocols are in wide use today; Microsoft, IBM and other software companies both large and small have incorporated them into their programs.

The winning bidder was a company called JGR Acquisitions. An attorney representing JGR was mum about his client, dodging reporters’ questions as he rushed out of the court room at the close of the auction.

Attorneys for Commerce One and the bankers who solicited bids for the auction also declined to discuss JGR. A document the company filed with the court was scarce on information as well, so JGR’s business, its owners, its location and its plans for the newly acquired patents all remain mysteries.

Although the patents may be too broad to enforce or may be otherwise invalidated if challenged, the auction has drawn the attention of some big names in Silicon Valley, including Google, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Representatives for those and about a dozen other companies convened a meeting last month to discuss the auction and the danger of infringement suits from whomever won it.

The companies also considered a proposal to pool funds in order to jointly bid on the patents and retire them if they won. But the effort apparently never got off the ground. CommerceNet, the nonprofit group that floated the proposal and offered to place the joint bid, did not participate in Monday’s auction.

I get the impression we have not heard the last of JGR…

I’ve recently gotten some kudos for my post on The Web Way:

The Web Way is a philosophy toward Web-based services:

  1. They should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
  2. They should have clean designs for user interfaces and clean designs for programming interfaces.
  3. Where it’s useful, they should embrace REST.
  4. Where it’s useful, they should embrace loose coupling.
  5. Where it’s useful, they should embrace glorious, nonblocking, asynchronous pubsub. ;)
  6. Where it’s useful, they should embrace microformats, a/k/a lowercase semantic web.
  7. Where it’s needed, they should embrace the time-tested principles of Scalable Internet Architectures (three simple rules: optimize where it counts, complexity has its costs, and use the right tool).

Entry notification due Dec 10th… EEE-05 Contest Technical Details:

The EEE-05 Challenge is perhaps the first web service discovery/composition competition. As such, in this first year, we expect that the technical details of the competition will evolve as we learn more about the nature of running such a competition. The intention of this web page is to continually update the participants with contest details and quirks as they are discovered.

Objectives. The objective of the competition, in this first year, is to encourage participants to concentrate on syntactical matching and chaining for Web Service Description Language (WSDL)
documents. A successful software entry will be able to accurately and efficiently find services using the part names underlying their input and output messages. Secondly, entries will have to create chains of services by linking output part names to the subsequent input part names. The intent of this first year is for participants to create part name matching components/agents that will set the foundation for later years of this competition (i.e. each year with more technical rigor). Participants should also focus on robust system design and efficient programming techniques.

Evaluation. We are still working on the most effective approach to evaluating the software. We anticipate that one aspect will be a subjective score on the system design. The other aspects will be performance and accuracy. One idea is to allow the discovery and composition to proceed for a limited amount of time and count the accurate number of discoveries or compositions, respectively. Although, the developing the evaluating technique is still be considered by the advisory board, we assure participants that the
competition will be run with the best intentions to keep the judging fair.

CommerceOne Patent Auction Teleconference

CommerceNet, a non-profit industry consortium, invites you to participate in an event on the CommerceOne bankruptcy auction of patents that cover key facets of commerce related Internet transactions. The conference will address the impact and possibility of these patents being placed into the public domain. Please register to attend this conference call The conference call will be held at 1:00 pm pst on Monday November 22, 2004. Use the following conference number:

1-866-613-5217 code: 6513935

Auction of Internet Commerce Patents Draws Concern

November 16, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15 – More than three dozen patents said to cover key facets of Internet transactions will soon be auctioned off by Commerce One, a bankrupt software company. But even before the sale, some technology executives and lawyers are worried that potential buyers might wield the patents in infringement lawsuits against companies that are engaged in online commerce, like I.B.M. and Microsoft.

The 39 patents cover basic activities like using standardized electronic documents to automate the sale of goods and services over the Internet. Some intellectual property experts said that these patents, which have broad reach, could be used to challenge Web services like the .Net electronic business system from Microsoft or Websphere software from I.B.M. Those companies declined to comment, saying any discussion would be speculative at this point.

Bidding for the portfolio of patents will begin at $1 million in the auction, which is scheduled for Dec. 6 in federal bankruptcy court in San Francisco. Earlier this month, the patents were carved out from the rest of Commerce One’s assets.

One of the inventors involved, Robert Glushko, who no longer holds the patent rights, fears the winner of the auction might use the patents mainly to impede other companies or to press competitors to pay licensing fees for practices already common in Internet commerce. He is not alone….

Peter Yared on Active Grid coming out of stealth:

After 18 months of hard work, ActiveGrid is finally out of stealth mode! Check it out at:


There are details about the ActiveGrid Grid Application Server and about Adaptive Transactions, a new technology we are introducing to add intelligence into the execution of transactional applications on large grids.

See also:

Amazon Simple Queue Service is a simple, compelling service:

Amazon Simple Queue Service (Beta)

The Amazon Simple Queue Service offers a reliable, highly scalable hosted queue for buffering messages between distributed application components. The Amazon Simple Queue Service reduces the costs associated with resolving the producer-consumer problem that arises in distributed application development. Such costs include increased application development time, and potentially significant investment in server and network infrastructure to support distributed application messaging. Amazon has already invested in the large-scale computing infrastructure that runs the Queue Service, and since the Service’s interface is exposed via Web services, integration with applications is fast and easy.

Using the Amazon Simple Queue Service, you can decouple components of your application so that they run independently, with the Queue Service easing messaging management between components. Any component of a distributed application can store any type of data in a reliable queue at Any other component or application can then later retrieve the data, using queue semantics. The queue acts as a buffer between the work-producer that is saving the data, and the work-consumer that is retrieving the data for processing. Thus, the queue resolves issues that would otherwise arise if the producer were producing work faster than the consumer can process the work, or if the producer or consumer were only intermittently connected to the network.

Registered developers have free access to the Simple Queue Service during the Beta, but storage is limited to 4,000 queue entries per developer.


Basic Queue Operations

The Simple Queue Service employs a simple interface that is easy to use and highly flexible. The following operations are provided:

  • CreateQueue: Create queues for your own use, or to share with others.
  • ConfigureQueue: Modify the properties of an existing queue.
  • ListMyQueues: List your existing queues.
  • DeleteQueue: Delete one of your queues.
  • Enqueue: Add any data entries up to 4 KB in size to a specified queue.
  • Read: Return data from a specified queue. No data-key is required, and data is returned in roughly the same order it was added to the queue.
  • Dequeue: Remove a specified piece of data from a specified queue.

Specifically Designed for Use by Distributed Applications

A single queue can be used simultaneously by many distributed application components. There is no need for components to coordinate with each other to enable them to share a queue. A configurable read-lock feature is included to lower the incidence of duplicate messages when two applications are concurrently reading from the same queue.

Implemented to the Highest Standards for Performance and Reliability

The Amazon Simple Queue Service is built with the same stringent standards for performance and reliability as the rest of’s technology platform.

Intended Usage & Restrictions

  • The Amazon Simple Queue Service is designed for transitory storage of relatively small messages. A single entry placed in a queue cannot be larger than 4 KB in size, and cannot be left in the queue for more than 30 days (data left longer than this will be deleted).
  • During the Beta period, users of the Amazon Simple Queue Service are limited to storing up to 4,000 queue entries at a time in all queues created by the same subscription ID.
  • During the Beta period, there are limited security restrictions on access to individual queues. Access is granted to another user or application if they can provide your AWS Subscription ID and the corresponding identifier of your queue.
  • Applications should be prepared for the event where the same message is read more than once from the queue. In particular: A message may be returned by Read even though it has already been dequeued; and concurrent Read calls may return the same message to multiple readers. This behavior is a result of prioritizing reliable data storage (even in the face of hardware failures), and we expect such events to occur very infrequently. One way applications can cope with these occasional duplicates is by making the messages stored in the queue idempotent – that is, by ensuring that the effect of repeated receipt of a message is the same as that of receiving it once.