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May 17, 2006

(Im)Moderation at InfoWorld’s SOA Forum in NYC

Conferences, Lab News

Next month, InfoWorld is organizing its second SOA Executive Forum. That is, the second conference this year; that’s how much interest in this area has been ramping up. Of course, it’s not surprising that well-hyped fair-haired technology of a few years ago is only now delivering — once it’s in the shadows of a whole new boom in hype (WWII.0 anyone?)

CommerceNet’s Rohit Khare will be moderating two panel discussions on the Technology Track on Wednesday, May 17th in New York: SOA Meets Web 2.0 and The State of the Stack: Where Web Services Standards are Today.

The first session speaks to the potential of bottling the spirit of MashupCamp and unleashing it within the IT department. The “Web 2.0” world doesn’t use the lingo of Composite Apps, XML, and WS-*; you’d hear mashups, microformats, and REST instead. And please don’t call them ASPs: the cool new kids are all about the ad-supported browser-based hosted services.

Credit for that analogy above about the change in language is due to UC Berkeley professor Robert Gluskho, one of our panelists. Enterprise architect (and author) James McGovern of The Hartford pointed out that, technology buzzwords aside, the more profound change may be in recasting IT services within a larger ecosystem, services whose community of users live on either side of the corporate firewall. That kind of cooperation is key to the a interesting new business experiment headed up by Lew Tucker at Salesforce.com: AppExchange, where other companies’ apps can be rented side-by-side with their flagship CRM — and those partner apps can run off of the same database and extend each other’s data models. Of course, that kind of deep integration is easy to imagine on a centralized platform, but lots of the data (and services) needed actually reside on other Web servers; that’s why we also invited John Yapaola from Kapow, who sell a powerful visual programming tool for scraping and remixing multiple Web applications in a robust way.

The second session is a topic further from Rohit’s heart: who else could have written as incendiary a panel title as WS-* Considered Harmful? While he’d like to ask why we need a stack at all — the REST approach can be implemented with a slew of loosely-coupled tools, open-source and commercial, we’re fortunate to have some leading lights and actively-engaged practitioners of Web Services as they currently stand to survey the field for us: Real-World SOA blogger David Linthicum and middleware pioneer Steve Vinoski from Iona.

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