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Turning Technology into Profit

Turning Technology into Profit

BEA's eWorld Europe rolled into Paris June 25-26 with more than 2,200 attendees. The subtitle of this year's conference was "Turning Technology into Profit." Alfred Chuang, BEA's founder, CEO, and president, in his opening keynote emphasized that for technology to be effective it had to maximize the value that it returned to the business and the business's clients. His view was that for corporations to realize profit from technology they must move to become a distributed, integrated enterprise. BEA has a vision to help this, "... do more with less." BEA wants to simplify the production of applications and help customers cope with the changes that technology produces. BEA's strategy is USE: companies should have a Unified architecture, which allows companies to Simplify, develop, and deploy applications within an Extensible infrastructure. This strategy is the basis for the new BEA WebLogic 7.0 Platform. It integrates all of BEA's Java products into one product. Some of the aims for this product include common administration and a common, single service pack for the platform (which will be tested across all the products in the platform!).

The conference keynotes had a recurring message - integration through Web services. This wasn't just a jump on the hype bandwagon, presenters acknowledged there are and would be problems. It was mentioned on more than one occasion that there is now a "network effect," where a critical mass is being achieved behind Web services. Part of BEA's strategy for Web services is to simplify the production of Web services with the general availability of WebLogic Workshop, announced at the conference.

A number of exhitibors was at the conference - large booths from major vendors such as BEA, HP, Intel, and Accenture and smaller exhibits from the likes of Rational, TogetherSoft, Sitrika, ILOG, and others. The stands generated a lot of interest, though not as much as the World Cup semifinals, which were also taking place. The audience was entertained with a number of television screens showing the matches and the excited atmosphere was enhanced by the French cuisine and, more importantly, the French wine!

There was a large number of sessions, both business and technical. The technical sessions ranged from basic product overviews to excellent technical presentations, such as Phil Aston's talk on using the Grinder and Rashi Nigam's in-depth look at WLI performance tuning.

The technical keynote presentations were from Scott Dietzen, CTO of BEA; and Adam Bosworth, BEA's vice president of engineering of the Frameworks Division. What was interesting from both presentations was BEA's emphasis on integration. Scott outlined the view that integration could have as much impact on computing as the Internet. Adam argued not only that application-to-application integration could only be consistently achieved through the use of Web services, but also that the programming model currently used with Web services would have to change from synchronous rpc-like semantics to asynchronous message-processing semantics. Adam highlighted this point with an effective demonstration of WebLogic Workshop and a BlackBerry device.

Another highlight of the technical keynotes was a demonstration from LevelSeas (a B2B hub - www.levelseas.com) of a real, live B2B project. It effectively showed how mobile devices and multiple servers could be integrated using simple Web services. I found this demonstration exciting as it was a real application currently processing business-to-business transactions. It made maximum impact as LevelSeas have developed a graphical monitor showing the processing of the Web-service calls between machines. As someone who thinks that all computers should have lots of flashing lights, I found this demonstration really appealing!

There was also an interesting presentation from Tyler Jewell and Michael Smith on the "Top 10 Architectural Mistakes." This humorous discussion drew on their experience in the field - most mistakes are a result of poor planning, poor design, or unnecessary overengineering. Comments I would certainly agree with!

More Stories By Andy Winskill

Andy Winskill is principal consultant at Rosewood Software Services Ltd., UK. He specializes in BEa and Rational softwre, and has more than 10 years of experience in designing and constructing EAI and B2B applications. Rosewood Software Services are BEA and Rational partners.

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