Opening Components

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-01-29 Print this article Print

What are some of the components that you might open up in that way? Were a SOA [service-oriented architecture] since 1997. The good thing about that—you know, being ahead of the curve in computational topology—is that, a decade later, you find out that, hey, we made the right guess. It was a guess.
But theres a problem with it: You go look at an open-source project like Axis, and its all Java. Well, guess what? We did all our SOA in C.
This is a real weird thing, because, here we made the right guess, but we cant leverage the community knowledge thats going into open-source containers because most of the good ones are Java. We are running a container is an inversion of control pluggable strategy for services, with a lot of features that are pointed at a data center, like measurement and operability of services. We dont see anything like that that will run C code. We might make it an open-source project. I dont know. Have you been thinking about switching over to Java? Weve been a huge Java shop since very early, 1997. Again, we kind of guessed that this idea of an app server was a good idea, so we used this project called Kiva, which runs all of our model view control strategy for services. You can imagine, inside E-Trade, theres a service for quotes, theres a service for portfolio positions. Invoking those services for data, and running a model view control strategy to generate HTML, this is the idea around some of these app servers like Kiva. So we used Kiva, and then Kiva turned into the Netscape app server, which turned into the iPlanet app server, and some of that code we wrote in 1997 now runs in Tomcat, under a servlet. So its a layered architecture, and you can say that 50 percent of our code base is java, and 50 percent is these Web services that run in C. Its currently up to about 7 million lines of code, and, so, we thought, why dont we just port all that C code over to Java? We actually seriously thought about it, and the answer is, its very reliable, its stable. We took all the nose bleeds to get it that way ... In your consideration of open sourcing some of your code, are you looking at it as a way of "giving back," or do you think youd get something out of having the community involved in development? I think that a good architecture for computation has no concept of language. Theres a big push on SOA, and weve believed in it since the late 90s. And the Java community moves so fast; it seems like theyre way ahead of the game in developing the concepts surrounding SOA. If SOA is the right idea, and I think it is the right idea, then there will be implementations of SOA in every language, and maybe I can help kick that off. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.


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