There is a new Facebook group 'Rich Enterprise Applications'. Advancing the discusion of the next wave of Rich Enterprise Web 2.0 Applications that leverage Ajax, SOA, Web Services, and SaaS to create desktop like functionality through a browser.
Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged before dawn Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign.
My new year's wish is for both counties and the world to now move forward productively to end the violence and establish a new self-serving government infrustructure in Iraq.
Ajax Muscles Up by Steve Smith, December 2006 issue For many marketers, the overused "Web 2.0" moniker is synonymous with the network effect, be it the social search of Yahoo's Del.icio.us, the ersatz village of MySpace, or the content-sharing of YouTube. But the stealth trend to watch in the Web 2.0 model involves a radical rethinking of Web interfaces that moves the solitary desktop computing experience online and into a collaborative space.
Online communities and offerings like Google's Gmail, Yahoo's Flickr, and Zoho.com, a suite of business productivity tools, represent only the beginning of a trend that offers individuals and businesses the applications they need to craft and build their own communities.
Dubbed "Ajax" programming by Jesse James Garrett, the president of Adaptive Path, a user experience consultancy, this collection of technologies is rapidly transforming the way we interact with the Web. "In a lot of ways it is the point at which the Web reaches maturity and starts to fulfill a lot of the dreams that people had about it in the mid-'90s," says Garrett. E-mail, calendaring, word processing, even spreadsheets could easily migrate online in the next few years.
"We're entering an unprecedented period of user interface innovation, as Web developers are finally able to build Web applications as rich as local PC-based applications," says Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media in his seminal essay on the Web.2.0 concept. The open-source software and applications movement has also helped spur these developments.
What does all of this mean to marketers? No one knows for sure yet, but it's no accident that the Web's 800-pound Google-rilla is already at the center of Ajax. Web-based collaborative word processor, Writely.com, represents the current apex of Ajax programming, and it's owned by Google. The new Google Desktop Gadgets deploy these technologies to put everything from games to calendars, clocks, and even Google search boxes and results on Web sites, further proliferating Big G's reach.
Microsoft has countered with its evolving line of "Live" Web-based services. The most immediate fallout from exploding Ajax use could be a breakdown in traditional metrics. Ajax applications engage users for longer periods of time and offer them rich data, but they don't spur Web-page reloading. The page-view metric doesn't work here; this is one trend that begs for different ways to gauge user involvement. But the real promise of Ajax may be in letting designers and advertisers plant highly functional and fully interactive applications on anyone's Web site. Earlier this year, the site builder network Freewebs.com partnered with Sony Pictures to create a "Zathura" widget offering games related to the film. The widget got picked up by 11,000 Freewebs sites and used 600,000 times, according to the company, which is now trying to turn widgets into brand advertising.
Ultimately, Ajax could help marketers weave their way into the ethos of Web 2.0 by offering consumers more functions and features, not more marketing. "A lot of Web 2.0 is about taking the Web back from marketers," says Matt MacQueen, director of experience planning of Arc Worldwide, an integrated marketing company.
The challenge for marketing in the Web 2.0 world, then, is not to find new and clever ways for your brand to be a buddy on MySpace. "You have to offer value or solve a problem I as a consumer have," MacQueen says. If consumers are controlling the messages they receive and even the designs of their Web interactions by using tools like RSS and Ajax widgets to shape their browsing experiences, then marketers need to start giving them the tools to do so.
Contributing writer Steve Smith is a longtime new-media consultant and columnist, and current editor of Wireless Business Forecast for Access Intelligence at TelecomWeb.com. Contact him at email@example.com.
Follows the Me, me , me construct of enterprise mashups and situational applications. Users create the web apps they need, when they want it.
From the December 25, 2006 issue of TIME magazine
-- The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.
To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.
But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.
And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.
America loves its solitary geniuses its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.
Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?
The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.
But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.
This happened to one of my best friends who just so happens to be of Pakistany origen. By the way he actually was born and grew up in OHIO. Way to go Metro and DC Police.
"Last week I entered the metro with my wife. As usual, we were in haste and wanted to just board the train by making our way through the crowded gates. I have a Smart-card and replenish it once every 2 weeks. As i walked through the gate, i had -$0.30 on my card. If anyone has a Smartcard, they know that the card lets you be negative to a certain amount, but when you refill the card you have to make up the difference. That is a benefit of the Smart Card. But Officer BF Johnson didn't think so. He stopped me in my tracks, ordered me to approach him. He then ordered me to hand over my license and called the station to check for any suspicious (Obviously terror-related) activity from my end. He was telling me "you are riding on a negative balance, you are stealing from the metro". Yeah, lets call this in...this is a serious "crime" and we need to check what this rider's past crimes are. Officer BF Johnson was surprised when a blond Ukrainian lady followed me, while telling her "ill be with you in a second ma'am". Well, she defended me and he must have been horrified to see a Pakistani married to a Ukraine? This isnt supposed to happen! I was never taught to react in this situation!!!! Well, obviously he has no clue how the Smart Card works but, he still kept me there for almost 10 minutes while he verified with all significant sources that this crafty/sneaky metro rider is clean to the bone. He handed me a a nice warning while reading from it "i have the right to detain you". This shameful rider will never cheat my way through anything in life...not with the BF Johnson's defending the illustrious Metro institutes's best interests."
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.
DevX spoke with six of these vendors to get an overview of this next frontier of AJAX development:
* Backbase – makers of Backbase enterprise AJAX software * Helmi Technologies – makers of the Helmi Open Source RIA Platform * ICESoft Technologies – makers of ICEFaces, a Java EE framework for AJAX applications based on JavaServer Faces * JackBe – makers of the enterprise AJAX development and runtime environment, NQ Suite, and the Presto rich enterprise application platform * Nexaweb – makers of the Enterprise Web 2.0 Suite of products for Java-based AJAX development * TIBCO General Interface – makers of General Interface (GI) toolkit for building desktop application-like Web applications
Robert Lepack, VP of marketing for ICESoft, gave a break down of what enterprise customers are looking for, which seemed to ring true for the market as a whole. He said ICESoft clients are divided evenly between those migrating legacy apps to the Web and those building new RIAs. He also detailed their evaluation criteria when selecting an AJAX solution: richness of the component libraries, SOA compatibility, standard tools support, and portal integration.
There's a difference between 'AJAXified' pages and AJAX/rich Internet applications for the enterprise.—Kevin Hakman, director of product marketing for General Interface Helmi Technologies Founder Juho Risku said, "Enterprises are basically looking for savings because of the instantaneous user experience on enterprise applications. That's the reasoning behind AJAX [deployments]." He gave the example of an enterprise application handling 500 clicks per user, per day and taking five seconds to respond to each click. With 1,000 users, that adds up to millions of seconds per year those users spend waiting.
"There's a difference between 'AJAXified' pages and AJAX/rich Internet applications for the enterprise," said Kevin Hakman, director of product marketing for General Interface. As an example, he cited H&R Block, which annually sets up 12,000 additional offices during tax season and equips them with high-productivity GI workspaces through the browser.
The vendors made it clear that AJAX isn't right for every application. Nexaweb CTO and Founder Coach Wei said, "AJAX is a great technology for enhancing the performance functionality of Web-based applications in the browser [but it] is not good for much more client-centric applications [such as] the traditional PowerBuilder kind of application."
"Any ERP application, that's perfectly OK with AJAX," explained Risku, but he stipulated, "Anything that requires signal processing or complex algorithms on the client side is definitely not something AJAX should be used for."
So does that mean AJAX applications won't scale well?
JackBe CTO John Crupi offered a different perspective, as his product is an SOA service consumer. "The front end will be AJAX, but ultimately if you really want to get the performance and scalability you need for enterprise apps, you have to have a framework that extends into the backend enterprise. In our view, that backend extension is using SOA as the data service provider," he said.
Adding to the complexity is the fact that AJAX development currently lacks standards. This is an issue all six of the companies DevX spoke with (and some 49 others) are trying to address collectively through the Open AJAX Alliance, an industry body whose mission is promoting interoperability among the multitude of AJAX widgets, components, and libraries.
"The Open AJAX Alliance is taking all of the vendors and saying 'Let's not fragment the market the way Web service standards bodies did and have competing standards,'" said Crupi. "The first step is to support interoperability. You should be able to intermix various widgets and frameworks and not have a problem."
Backbase chief Pleiter also advocates for a single common API that can serve as a basic language specification for all AJAX solution vendors. As he sees it, even if all the different AJAX implementations could cooperate, each would still have its own API. He said, "We now have 200 different APIs for 200 different check problems, which is clearly way too fragmented [and] clearly doesn't drive for any standardization."
A flurry of open source activity has occurred in the AJAX market. Today, many of the vendors' products already support widely used open source toolkits such as Dojo and DWR as interoperable add-ons to their native libraries. A majority of the companies DevX spoke with have even released their own products as open source projects. In just the past few months, a flurry of open source activity has occurred in the AJAX market:
* Helmi launched the first beta of its Open Source RIA Platform v2.0. * ICESoft released ICEfaces under an open source license. * Nexaweb initiated XAP (the eXtensible Ajax Project) through the Apache Software Foundation. * TIBCO released General Interface 3.2 under an open source license.
Although the vast majority of freely available frameworks, toolkits, and libraries on the AJAX landscape—Helmi estimates 1,500 in all—aren't involved in the interoperability effort, most of the vendors feel confident that the ones that matter are. Hakman predicted that fewer than 10 would emerge as broadly adopted, and Pleiter said, "I think 80 percent of the stuff doesn't even qualify to remain in the marketplace because it's just a small fragment, it's just a piece of code. They are not viable options, especially in the enterprise."
Helmi Founder Risku added, "Most of the platforms are such that no one even knows that they are there. There definitely will be a lot of consolidation happening."
If the Open AJAX Alliance is successful, however, Hakman sees the Java platform as a model of what AJAX could become. "Like in Java with JSP, Swing, and Spring, you've got a different tool for different tasks within that context. The idea is [that] AJAX is just an ecosystem with a number of large frameworks and toolkits that are broadly adopted, but plenty of room for more [vendors] that make specialized widgets."
The Onion PLANO, TX—With the recent trend of wholesome snack foods reaching "truly ridiculous proportions," Frito-Lay announced Monday that it would, against its better judgment, roll out a new line of healthy fruit-and-vegetable-based chips next February. Frito Lay R
"Here," said Frito-Lay CEO Al Carey as he disgustedly tossed a bag of the company's new Flat Earth-brand snack crisps onto the lectern during a meeting with shareholders and members of the press. "Here's some shit that's made from beets. I hope you're all happy now that you have your precious beet chips with the recommended daily serving of fruit, or vegetables, or whatever the hell a 'beet' is."
Carey appeared visibly appalled as Frito-Lay employees distributed Flat Earth snack samples to the audience.
"God help us all, would you look at these flavors," said Carey, gesturing toward a display showcasing the several varieties of Flat Earth chips, including Kauliflower Krunch, Raisins 'N Chives, Cranberry Spinach Explosion, Rutabaga Yum, Tofu Snaps, Eggplant Ecstasy, Broccoloroos, and Watercress. "Look at what you've reduced us to." Enlarge Image Frito Lay Jump R
Frito-Lay delivery people drop off a "bunch of bullshit to some pricks somewhere."
"Weren't Sun Chips healthy enough for you, you goddamn hippie bastards?" Carey added.
Frito-Lay spokeswoman Lisa Greeley, who said that the company made a commitment in 2004 to develop a healthier line of snacks but "never thought it would actually come to this," described the Flat Earth brand as "tailor-made for the small, vocal minority of health-conscious consumers who apparently can't just be content with salads, bananas, apples, or any of the literally thousands of fruits and vegetables already widely available."
"Our new veggie snacks combine the zesty tang of parsnip, the most mouthwatering root vegetable out there, with the bold flavor of, let's say, jute?" said Greeley before reluctantly bringing a Turnips 'N Radish chip to her mouth and forcing down a full bite. "It's a brand-new taste sensation unlike anything you've ever experienced, unless you've ever eaten sisal twine."
According to Frito-Lay's website, the new snacks contain one-third of the fat, one-half of the calories, and one-1,000th of the irresistible flavor of Frito-Lay's classic line of potato and corn chips. The presence of trans-fats and saturated oils is avoided by employing a cooking process "strikingly similar to the method used to create particle board." Serving suggestions that will be printed on the packaging include "definitely not adding any salt or seasoning, because then you might die"; dipping the chips in "delicious plain yogurt, lettuce paste, or other ground-up Flat Earth products"; and enhancing the flavor by replacing the chip in your hand with a Hot'n Spicy BBQ chip.
In January, Frito-Lay will launch a Flat Earth marketing campaign based on the slogan, "Bet You Can't Eat Even One." Surprisingly, however, the company is also in talks with distributors to ensure that Flat Earth snacks are installed in every school vending machine in the country.
"Oh, they're definitely going in the vending machines," Carey said. "Everyone's going to share in this misery, not just a handful of Naderites with spastic colons or loser kids with no taste buds whose parents want them to grow up to be boring milquetoasts afraid to have any fun. And don't think we haven't forgotten you either, office workers on snack breaks and anyone who wants to serve a big bowl of disappointment at a cocktail party."
"If this is what you want, America, fine," Carey continued. "But if you don't like them, then you can suck my fucking dick, because this is it—no more veggie crisps after this. None. You hear me? None."
"You're all gonna die eventually, anyway," Carey added. "Might as well be eating Cool Ranch Doritos with cheese dip when you go."
Frito-Lay is now considering discontinuing its traditional snack line and focusing entirely on chickpeas and sprouts, since, according to Carey, Americans "are so scared of getting fat, and are clearly no longer interested in good-tasting food."
"You all disgust me," said Carey, who then kicked over the Flat Earth display and stormed out of the room.
Fellow blogger Phil Wainewright attended the SIIA (Software Industry Information Assocation) conference this month. Phil writes:
Speaking on a panel at today's SIIA OnDemand Summit in San Jose, Abhijit Dubey of McKinsey revealed that a new survey by his organization has found that the proportion of CIOs considering adopting SaaS applications in the coming year has gone from 38% a year ago to 61% now. "That's a huge jump," he said, and he's not kidding. It's an indication of a sea-change in acceptance of SaaS over the past year.
The sea-change Phil is chronicling is spilling over to the consulting and systems integration markets. All IT services providers need to prepare for the oncoming sea change in how enterprise software is bought, delivered, and supported. The days of integrators and consultants as implementors of large enterprise apps are numbered. Sure SAP, Oracle, and even MicroSoft aren't dying off any time soon, but IT services firms who jump on the next net bandwagon early are going to see some attractive high margin opportunities.
For starters, there is the issue of business case. Consultants who can dig deep within the business processes of an enterprise are going to be invaluable in helping large and small enterprises take advantage of new SaaS and Enterprise 2.0 applications. Further, integration opportunities abound. Phil mentions Bluewolf Consulting, a systems integrator/consultant in NYC. Bluewolf has made a nice business out of integration opportunities that surround Salesforce.com. I had a long chat with Eric Berridge of Bluewolf Consulting recently. He spelled out a couple key differences between consulting 1.0 and consulting 2.0– namely.
* Consulting 2.0 is Business Process-based not technology-centric * Making clients successful with a SaaS application is just plain easier and less expensive for the client
Bluewolf is involved in projects integrating Salesforce.com with large enterprise apps such as SAP and Oracle at large installations such as DuPont, The Hartford, Fox Networks, The New York Times, and British Petroleum. Berridge says when Bluewolf consultants sit down to talk to a client, they're talking about what the client wants to achieve vs. what technology they're going to employ to do it. Many times results can be achieved in a fiscal quarter or less, and will cost a tenth of what it would normally cost with a traditional enterprise implementation.
Integration opportunities around SOA also present a ripe opportunity for integrators. EDS announced a deal yesterday with Lufthansa to develop and implement a middleware, messaging and security platform that will enable the airline to interface, interoperate and integrate with their business partners and other airline systems through open standards.
At the Accenture analyst briefing this month, I had some time to talk to Bob Suh, Accenture's Chief Technology guru. Suh was telling me how Accenture has a dedicated team assigned to next-gen enterprise app Workday and has been working with them over a year. This pales in comparison to the 50,000 or so consultants they have dedicated to SAP and Oracle, but it's a start. At least Accenture has the foresight to realize the models are changing, and they need to be ready when the next wave of software hits the enterprise.
The smart Enterprise 2.0 firms are targeting Systems Integrators too. Today I spoke to Mike Wagner and Bob Bianchi at Ajax solutions developer, JackBe, who are hosting an invitation-only open house for Systems Integrators in December to preview the company's next generation of Ajax and REA technologies. They see systems integrators as an excellent partner to deliver their newest platform of products which will be generally available 2Q 2007. Because JackBe is targeting the "power user" within departments who can effectively build mashups and create applications on their own, SIs will benefit from the exposure to a whole new class of customer.