Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Operations is my customer

So I got a chance to partake in a Franklin Covey Leadership Training exercise several weeks ago. I was not sure what I would take out of the training and whether it would be beneficial. I was extremely impressed by its content, focus and most importantly the instructor. Long story short the class tried to identify what is a leader and how to become an effective one. As part of the sessions a discussion around identifying your customer came up. For the current customer I am working for, it is a little interesting in that with middleware there are many customers. Specifically though once in production, operations becomes a major customer.

What I learned is that to make an effective middleware platform, quality comes in the flavors of Reliability, Scalability, Manageability. When these quality attributes skip a beat or fail to occur, Operations has to swoop into action. The benefit of the training underscored the need for me to develop simpler and more capable tools to handle customer issues. Additionally, the increasing complexity of our SOA has begun to exacerbate the monitoring and management once in production. Log4J logs, JMX and Management Services become the virtual console for operations and development.

While these solutions may not occur immediately, I am working with them to define best practices, provide training and eventually automate solutions. This has resulted in reduced operational issues as well as increased self-reliance. Most importantly, this process never ends and must continue to be executed to provide consistency of results.

SOA Training, what is it?

Based on my current role as an independent consultant I have run into several clients looking to develop SOA technical skills inside the organization. Due to my Web Services lineage, I of course look at the SOA solution set via the W3C and OASIS toolbox. From a training perspective I highly recommend the Cape Clear Developer site for two training facilities:

1) XML Schema / SOAP/ WSDL


I am looking for some decent tutorials on XSLT/XPath. Currently I have been using the and O'Reilly. If you have any suggestions on alternative tutorials/locations let me know. 

3) SOA Specific Articles / Books

Thomas Erl and his series of publications are a must. and

Finally although not specifically for SOA but rather all the other technologies like  AJAX, OOAD, HTML etc the Head First series from O'Reilly is excellent.  

To Spring or not to Spring

I am trying to get a sense from people as to which framework people are selecting, Spring or EE5. Several different projects I am privy to at different companies have employed Spring with good success. Another colleague just published a book on JBoss SEAM with its EE5 underpinnings and is very high on its capabilities. Long story short it seems like this is going to be a Ford versus Chevy debate. Maybe I am wrong but would love to hear any feedback. 

Due to the use of Spring configuration and Spring Bean support in Cape Clear 7.5, I see my path has been pre-determined.