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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-01-14 Print this article Print

Essentially, rather than focus on open source as a priority, the new policy demands that new IT investments be open standards compliant. The states new Enterprise Open Standards Policy defines open standards as: "Specifications for systems that are publicly available and are developed by an open community and affirmed by a standards body." The policy gives HTML as an example of such a standard and adds: "Open standards imply that multiple vendors can compete directly based on the features and performance of their products. It also implies that the existing information technology solution is portable and that it can be removed and replaced with that of another vendor with minimal effort and without major interruption."
Another conclusion drawn in the new policy is that "open systems and specifications are often less costly to acquire, develop and maintain and do not result in vendor lock-in."
Finally, the new policy states that all prospective IT investments will comply with the states new Enterprise Technology Reference Model (ETRM). State IT officials said implementation of the ETRM "will result in a service oriented architecture (SOA) for the Commonwealth that uses open standards solutions where appropriate to construct and deliver online government services," a document describing the ETRM said. In addition, the state is encouraging its agencies to migrate toward the ETRM. Some of the specifications in Version 1.0 of the Massachusetts ETRM include TCP/IP, HTML, XML, HTTP, the Web Services Description Language (WSDL), Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). According to the ETRM vision statement, among the goals for the ETRM are ease of integration of applications, application services and data to enable inter-agency collaboration and sharing; increased level of application interoperability with other states and municipalities and with the federal government; better responsiveness to changing business needs and technology innovations; and faster deployment of new applications. Meanwhile, the ETRM defines standards and technologies for each layer of its SOA: service access and delivery; security; component framework; service interface and integration; data management; and service platform and infrastructure.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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