It wasn't long ago that computer industry pundits still thought that COM and
CORBA would become the Internet business-to-business (B2B) integration
infrastructure. Yet nowadays B2B integration on the Internet is done using
XML on top of simple protocols such as HTTP, FTP and SMTP. The Web has won
because of its simplicity, ubiquity and heterogeneity. XML has become the
lingua franca of B2B because of its inherent capabilities: simplicity,
extensibility and ease of processing.
In this article I'm going to discuss the role XML has to play in this
business-to-business space, particularly with respect to the infrastructure
technologies that enable B2B integration. I'll present three complementary
views of B2B integration, each creating different requirements for XML use,
then focus on two principal technology areas XML data mapping and schema
translation that are c... (more)
The last edition of the XML in Transit column (XML-J, Vol. 1, issue 4)
introduced the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Instead of dwelling on
technical issues, it focused on the driving forces behind the technology.
To put SOAP into context we looked at its history, parsed the
buzzword-compliant phrase ubiquitous XML distributed computing infrastructure
and scoped the SOAP specification within the broader set of standards likely
to emerge in this area. One possible layering of SOAP and related
specifications is shown in Figure 1. The areas already covered by SOAP are
In my last XML in Transit column (XML-J, Vol. 1, issue 5) I promised to
complete my trilogy on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) by addressing the
aspects of the latest specification that we haven't covered yet:
intermediaries, error handling, and data encoding. Forgive me for deviating
slightly from that plan. After fielding several questions about large-scale
SOAP systems, I've gotten the impression that many people who've looked at
the SOAP specification are confused by the notion of intermediaries.
Therefore, I've decided to ignore data encoding for the time being and focu... (more)
In 1975 Niklaus Wirth, the Swiss computer scientist who created the Pascal
programming language, published a seminal book entitled Algorithms + Data
Structures = Programs. If Wirth had written about business applications,
Computing + Storage = Applications would have been a better title. Of course,
in 1975 there weren't that many business applications. Most of them ran
limited back-office functions on mainframes. PCs weren't on the map. The
killer app for PCs - the first spreadsheet - wouldn't be created until 1981.
More than a quarter of a century later, things have changed. Most... (more)
I’ve been around software for 20 years now. Looking back, I have mixed
feelings about the progress we’ve made. The end results have been amazing
but the process of building software hasn’t fundamentally changed since the
80s. In fact, I see us make some of the same mistakes over and over again.
One of the common anti-patterns is over-relying on tools and frameworks
instead of inventing new programming models.
Layers of abstraction are fundamental to software. Some layers are defined
through programming models, e.g., machine language, assembly language, 3GLs,
JSP. Others are defi... (more)