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Will you be in the Mid-Atlantic area on December 13? If so, JackBe would like to invite you to attend ‘Ajax for Breakfast’, an interactive discussion about Ajax in the enterprise including live demonstrations of production Ajax applications in the corporate world. To attend, contact Jessica Agunsday at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org or (240) 744-1274.
Unrelated. For those who wondered, Heidi and I loved Borat.
November 1, 2006 — Have you looked at the code behind
I'm a wholehearted believer in
That's one problem with
Many developers and software architects-myself included-think that elegant code is more than aesthetically pleasing. Code that's well designed, well architected and well written is easy to read. It's easy to understand. It can be tested, tuned, debugged. It can be extended. It can be maintained.
As I write this, I've just finished editing a special supplement on
Despite the lure of canned software, I am fascinated by the technical underpinnings of
Three points, therefore, to close with: First, take the UI design seriously with
At the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Intel plans to announce SuiteTwo, a business-oriented collection of blogging, wiki, and RSS applications from the likes of NewsGator, SimpleFeed, Six Apart, and Socialtext, coordinated by open-source software integrator SpikeSource.
Intel Capital, the chipmaker's venture capital organization, helped realize the arrangement. Intel's venture group has investments in each of these companies and aims to be a matchmaker that can add value to the Intel platform, not to mention its portfolio.
"Small- and medium-sized businesses purchase software best when it's an integrated suite that's going to be available very easily through an ASP model, through a SaaS [software as a service] model, and that will be supported by a third party," says Lisa Lambert, managing director of the software solutions group at Intel Capital.
SaaS accounted for about 5% of business software revenue in 2005, Gartner said in October. The research firm expects that 25% of new business software will be delivered as a service by 2011.
Intel's decision to endorse consumer and open-source tools for business use reflects the shift toward bottom-up technology adoption that has been occurring over the past few years, says Ross Mayfield, CEO and co-founder of wiki software company Socialtext. "These are tools that have been designed for users first, because they've embraced this bottom-up demand pattern," he says. "This is the first time that you have in effect an enterprise 2.0 solution being offered that an IT department could in one fell swoop deploy to meet those grassroots demands for the tools that users actually prefer."
Most large companies, says Mayfield, have some wiki and blog use and are now at the point of deciding how they're going to manage it. Citing Gartner figures, Mayfield says that half of enterprises will have wikis and 80% will have blogs by 2008.
SuiteTwo's value proposition is increased productivity because the tools don't get in the user's way "in the same way the enterprise 1.0 did," says Mayfield. "We're projecting a 50% increase in knowledge worker productivity, 25% faster project cycles, and reducing information overload by reducing e-mail volume by 30%.
"We're shifting from this push model of attention management, where nobody has control over what information is overloading them," Mayfield continues, "to more of a pull model, where we have a choice of what we want to subscribe to, at what level of interruption, and at what time," thanks to strong search tools.
Intel's Software and Solutions Group will make the suite available to its partners and resellers, including Dell, Ingram Micro, NEC, and Tech Data, through what the company calls the Intel Channel Marketplace later this month.
SuiteTwo will be the first of what will likely be many application bundles for the Intel Channel Marketplace. "Our hope is to add other features as we go down the road, among them social networking, podcasting, and some mobility functions," says Lambert. Right now, the software is available in English and Japanese, but additional languages should be available by the end of 2007.
Distributors will have the option to resell the suite and then Intel will get a nominal fee for deploying it via the Intel Channel Marketplace. The price range is from $175 to $200 per user per year.
SuiteTwo will run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Microsoft Windows.
Hundreds of technology executives and investors will congregate this week to take the quickening pulse of Internet entrepreneurship.
At the third annual Web 2.0 Conference in
At the Web 2.0 Conference in
Many start-up companies that fall under the Web 2.0 rubric will die off or prove only modestly successful to their investors. But the current period of active experimentation is solidifying an industrywide shift to Internet-delivered software, entrepreneurs and investors say.
More stories on Web 2.0
For industry players, many of whom lived through the dot-com crash, the surging wave of new Web companies and the corresponding media buzz can mean only one thing: an investment bubble where too much money is chasing too few good ideas.
But for any similarities to the late '90s Internet craze, today's Web 2.0 buildup is a kinder, gentler bubble, say entrepreneurs and investors. Yes, the flourishing Web start-up scene will create some train wrecks. But because people can start companies for relatively small sums compared to the tens of millions doled out during the dot-com heyday, the crashes won't hurt as many.
Along the way, some Web companies will endure and make online software (also called software as a service), more compelling and viable for consumers and businesses, say entrepreneurs and investors, an admittedly optimistic bunch.
"A lot of companies will fail, without a doubt," said Joe Kraus, who co-founded Web portal Excite in the mid-1990s and JotSpot, a wiki company that Google acquired last week. "But users really benefit because the innovation space is being explored a lot more quickly."
Acquisitions by Google and other Web heavyweights like Yahoo and Microsoft are helping to fuel entrepreneurial creativity.
The purchase price of privately held JotSpot was not disclosed, but Google last month bought 20-month-old video-sharing site YouTube for an eye-popping $1.65 billion in stock.
Big-dollar acquisitions may remind people of the public stock market entries of many profitless dot-coms in the 1990s. But people say new online business models are more mature, and give today's Web start-ups a better shot at longevity.
Automated Web advertising is more sophisticated and monthly subscriptions to hosted applications are proving themselves out, particularly to business customers at companies like Salesforce.com.
"Business model innovation is the biggest difference between Internet phase one and Internet phase two," said Brad Silverberg, a former Microsoft executive and partner at venture capital firm Ignition Partners. "It used to be everything was about eyeballs but there was no way to monetize it. Today there is and that's why this is more durable."
Silverberg argued that new software companies will not be able to enter the packaged software market, which will be dominated by incumbents like Microsoft and Adobe. Instead, the race among crafty entrepreneurs is to deliver a hosted service that strikes a chord with consumers or business customers.
Two geeks in a garage
Activity in Web-related start-ups is on the rise. The number of "Web 2.0" investments from venture companies rose to more than 130 in the third quarter of this year, compared to 107 in the same period last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A number of technical advances, such as the Web development technique
New businesses today have access to free open-source software, relatively cheap hardware and powerful development tools. With more Web sites providing programmatic access to outsiders, developers can also build mashup applications that combine information from multiple Web sites.
Add it all up and the money and effort to launch a Web company has gone down substantially, compared to only a few years ago--a shift with implications for both entrepreneurs and their financial backers.
Posted by Dion Hinchcliffe @ 11:44 pm
As browser-based software, SaaS, and Web 2.0 continue to make some inroads in the enterprise, it's the lack of useful pioneer reports that hampers the early adoptors. Sure, many of us witness the often amazing trends taking place out on the Web in the form of mountains of user generated content and communication and collaboration occuring en masse via blogs and spaces. But the big question is still with us: Can the motivations and context that makes the latest generation of software on the Web so compelling, and hence popular, be made just as meaningful in the enterprise?
As we get deeper into the second decade of the Web, we've been inundated with the 2.0 generation of everything, hopefully all learning from the mistakes of the 1.0 generation. In addition to Web 2.0 itself however, we have two more important enterprise software trends: Office 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, coined by Ismael Ghalimi and Andrew McAfee respectively. Office 2.0 represents the increasing use of browser-based software in the office, while
For its part, Office 2.0 represents freedom from the tyranny of installing software and updates, remembering where you keep your data and your programs (it's all in the cloud with Office 2.0), and dealing with pesky things like admin rights, software versions, virus scanning, and more. Though browser-based software still has its limitations (like what happens when the server is down or you don't have a connection), it's increasingly clear that the network is going to become the pre-eminent location for most meaningful business software, if it hasn't happened already.
Like Web 2.0, where visual technologies like
But most organizations already understand that spreadsheets, presentation files, e-mails, word processing documents, and private databases are where much of the valuable institutional information is. While centralized "big IT" systems do a lot of routine record keeping, the heart and soul of an organization in the form of corporate strategies, product development plans, project notes, key performance metrics, and so on is really kept in e-mail folders and user's directories. And while some of it must remain under strict control, particularly in public companies, much of it is unnessarily — and usually to a fault — hidden, unreused, and unexploited.
There's undoubtedly many more ideas on how to apply
Like any new web technology there is sometimes the misconception that it can be used and implemented within the enterprise the same as with public consumer web applications. This is natural because these consumer-facing applications often are constrained the way enterprises are and can act on new technologies and approaches faster. This is true with Ajax.
Think of a car analogy. If you put a fancy Ferrari body on top of a Pinto frame and engine what do you have? From a distance you can say you have a Ferrari but to those who have to get up-close, interact with, and maybe even drive it; its still run’s like a Pinto.
Now consider enterprise web applications. With the coming out party of open-source Ajax widgets enterprises believe that by ‘bolting’ some of these free snippets (little Ajax eye candy pieces to make a site look and feel better to the user) onto existing apps is all that is needed to say “Yes, we’re doing Ajax.” But think about it. All that is being done is similar to the scenario above whether business managers realize it or not. If they don’t, they are really getting shortchanged on the business activity optimizing gains from Enterprise Ajax.
To garner the full benefits, enterprises need to carefully calculate how to implement an Ajax enterprise strategy that not only provides the basic improved user experience but can enhance the entire set of capabilities as well. Enterprise Ajax is in fact an architectural strategy so as to marry the best of what Ajax has to offer with enterprise architectures such as SOA while making sure that security, scalability, reliability and governance are correctly taken care of. Enterprise Ajax enables enterprises to leverage the best of Rich Internet Applications and Service-Oriented enterprise Applications with the specific goal of optimizing any and all business operations of an enterprise while guarding access by authorized people to the correct information assets and ensuring delivery and proper execution.
Many have been talking about a recent issue of the McKinsey Quarterly that speaks of what they call “Tacit Interactions”. When people consider Enterprise 2.0 / Web 2.0 / Office 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis, they need to consider these tools in the context of these tacit interactions. Tacit being ad hoc or on the fly and this represents 40% of a typical business day time according to McKinsey. Dion Hinchcliffe and Tony DiRomualdo do a good job explaining this in more detail as does the blog Enterprise Web 2.0. These are not the routine transactional activities but rather the interactions are complex and ambiguous, requiring high levels of judgment and problem-solving. People involved in tacit interactions must often draw on deep experience and combine with available data, and the output of integrated data.
Over the years companies have boosted their productivity by improving the efficiency of transformational activities but have to some extent maxed out the economical IT efficiencies of these activities. In other words, throwing more hardware and software isn’t necessarily going to bring about the same efficiency gains that we’ve seen before.
To realize greater ROI from new applications, the focus of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 presents has been about putting more power in the users hands to make these other non-transactional activates better, faster, and easier. Easier said then done when one realizes this involves deriving value from unstructured and possibly dispersed data.
Tacit interactions require a whole different organizational style and structure than transactional interactions. While one can improve transformational interactions through process design, and improve transactional interactions by providing scripts and structures, tacit interactions require loose boundaries, flat hierarchy, individual empowerment to innovate, and an emphasis on learning over time.
It is no surprise then that the tools such a person uses has to be as adaptable as the individual capable of handling the characteristics above. Tools that empower end users and finally help them help themselves with what information they want, when, and how they want it.
This has been the bottle-neck as I see it with software to date. Attempts have been made with business intelligence tools and portal but now with fine-grained services being exposed in greater numbers and client-side technologies that can consume these on the scene now, it seems we may be closer to empowering end users and finally helping them help themselves with what information they want, when and how they want it.
Lightweight frameworks are those considered to be AJAX-based, while heavy frameworks include those needing desktop-based technologies such as plug-ins, said conference panelists during an evening session.
"I would have to say, of course, the end user experience needs to be totally lightweight," said Chris Schalk, a product manager and JavaServer Faces evangelist at Oracle. Lightweight technology is needed for interacting with legacy systems, he said.
"The term, AJAX, has meant a lot of things to many people," said Kevin Hakman, product marketing manager for Tibco General Interface.
"I think right now, to be clear, AJAX is chaos right now," Pleiter said.
"It's a total mess because everybody is trying to create his own AJAX legacy," said Pleiter. On the positive side, Pleiter cited self-service applications and application modernization projects as examples of where AJAX is beneficial.
The panel noted the OpenAJAX Alliance is addressing issues with AJAX.
Panelists also raised the question of why Microsoft is not participating in OpenAJAX. "Most people in the alliance would be happy if they joined," Schalk said.
Earlier in the day, technology executives during one panel session discussed whether companies need a Web 2.0 strategy. That conversation then branched off into another critical issue already touched upon at the conference: AJAX security.
A Web 2.0 strategy is needed, said Luis Derechin, CEO of JackBe. "Anything that's this big and making such an impact in the consumer space ultimately will get into the enterprise," Derechin said. But companies putting together such a strategy should concentrate on what they are trying to achieve, said Juho Risku, CEO of Helmi.
Technologies associated with Web 2.0 include AJAX and Flash, said Pleiter, who served on both the daytime and evening panels. He cited an example of a call center being fitted with Web 2.0 technology to improve efficiency.
AJAX, meanwhile, makes it easier to fill out Web forms, he said. "With AJAX technology, you can reduce a form that was 30 steps to [a complete form] in one screen and you can really make it easy," Pleiter said.
Security, though, remain an issue with AJAX, although AJAX is certainly not the only platform that must deal with it, panelists said.
"People think there's more risk in AJAX," and there is not, Derechin said.
JackBe, a Rich Enterprise Application (REA) software company, today announced its Presto REA platform, a comprehensive solution for delivering enterprise Ajax applications based on SOA and Web services.
ebizQ received the following details:
Applications built on the Presto platform gain business-class reliability, scalability, and service governance. The results are highly interactive browser–based applications that help users to optimize both their regular and ad hoc activities.
Enterprises are making significant investments to create SOA infrastructures that produce SOA and Web services. The focus is now shifting to “putting a face on SOA” by enabling distributed business units to easily consume these services and thus accelerate SOA benefits and ROI. JackBe’s Presto will enable enterprises to fully realize their SOA vision through Rich Enterprise Applications deployed at the forefront of business.
The Presto REA platform offers an enterprise-grade architecture based on a complete services governance foundation, unlike consumer-grade solutions or client-side mashup tools that leave governance to the browser. Complementing Presto’s governance features are components that provide reliable Ajax messaging, dynamic combination or ‘mashup’ of disparate SOA services, development and run-time frameworks, and a browser-based studio that empowers users to address their own application needs.
“There are scores of new products designed to accelerate Ajax development and client-side mashup of Web services,” said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst with ZapThink. “What makes JackBe’s Presto platform unique is its central focus on SOA service governance. JackBe clearly understands that governance, scalability and reliability are critical factors for enterprises as they leverage SOA and Ajax to create the next generation of rich enterprise applications.”
With the introduction of Presto, JackBe addresses the needs of enterprises wanting to empower business units with more flexible and productive use of core processes, logic and data while maintaining stringent access governance, reliability, and scalability. Presto enables governed access to internal services, enterprise data sources, and pre-defined external (third-party) Web services through powerful professional developer and business user development environments.
“JackBe was delivering Ajax-based applications within major enterprises long before the term ‘Ajax’ had even been coined,” commented Dion Hinchcliffe, noted Web 2.0 visionary and CEO of consulting firm Hinchcliffe & Company. “Today’s announcement extends that vision by recognizing the tremendous business value that can be delivered with a multi-tier platform that directly extends SOA with Ajax. JackBe’s new Presto platform will make the development of Ajax-based Rich Enterprise Applications faster and easier, but its real game-changing potential is to empower business users to create their own situational or ‘tacit’ applications based on rapidly changing needs.”
“Our new platform goes beyond current enterprise Web 2.0 technologies to help optimize and streamline the actual business activities, increasing the speed and accuracy of decision-making by business professionals,” said JackBe CEO and co-founder Luis Derechin. “These ’long tail’ composite applications integrate other existing SOA services and processes to address high-value business needs that would not be funded or built based on traditional IT priorities.”
Enterprises require tighter control, security, and reliability. In short they require a degree of governance that the average user building a Google Maps Mashup while sitting at their kitchen table doesn’t need. This should be no surprise to anyone who has worked for large organizations.
People have heard a lot about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 lately. I can see a similarity here that I think might help to distinguish between these two, and REA and RIA. Most of the talk surrounding Web 2.0 has been focused on the social collaborative aspects that it brings to users. I agree with this. Now take all of this (Web 2.0) and enable governance and security and commercial-grade reliability and you have a Web 2.0 model that is fit for an enterprise (Enterprise 2.0)
Following the same logic let’s look at RIA and REA. RIA has brought enhanced desktop-like look and feel to web applications. It looks, feels, and from a user perspective, performs a lot better than some we-based apps of only a few years ago. Let me clarify that this richness is all done in the browser which is perfectly fine for all of the Real estate mashups popping up everyday. You know the ones with balloons imprinted over a map. I like them; nothing wrong with them. It puts the control and build in the hands of the users; they can do what they want as long as they have access to the services which when these are exposed to the client means anything.
Hopefully, maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Enterprises want to encourage this new Web 2.0 movement within the organization to leverage the network effect and value it brings, but because of what I mentioned earlier, organizations have to impose a slightly different model called Enterprise 2.0. Given this, and Enterprise 2.0 requirements, RIA needs added capabilities forreal Enterprise 2.0 grade applications. They need the richness of RIA but with the governance that Enterprise 2.0 mandates. Boom, we have Rich Enterprise Applications that extend the attribute of RIA past the client and into the Enterprise’s resources and enterprises can feel comfortable in doing this because REA has this added governance portion.
We’re very excited at JackBe to be announcing Presto, our Rich Enterprise Application (REA) Platform. Presto helps organizations optimize business activity, leveraging existing SOA investments and facilitating the development of rich, interactive Ajax-based applications.
I blogged recently about some different architectural approaches to combining SOA and Ajax and pointed out that a server-side proxy approach is key to supporting many of the the non-functional requirements so common in today’s Enterprise service infrastructure. Additionally, this approach allows for optimization over the wire between the browser and server (as opposed to focusing on SOAP from the browser) and supporting strong governance of the service infrastructure on the back end.
Presto is focused on just this sort of approach, supporting the creation of highly interactive and responsive applications, built on a governed service infrastructure and reliable and scalable web connectivity: Rich Enterprise Applications.
We hope to not only help people create better applications but to help people build the right applications. What is the right application? It’s what’s needed to get the job done. In what has been referred to as the Long Tail of Enterprise Software there is an unmet demand for many small IT systems that could enable tacit interactions within a business.
To help address this issue, Presto enables the creation of ad-hoc, situational applications, supporting the development of service and process-based mashup applications, while maintaining strong support for service governance, security, scalability, and reliability.
We believe this will help bring together SOA and Ajax in ways that will help organizations maximize the value of their existing technology investments. Lots more to come on this front in the near future and please let us know if you would like to learn more.