The Protected Garden

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-04-07 Print this article Print

Are they XML-based?
All of them are XML-based, all the time. If you dont think of them as XML-based—[if] you think about it in a proprietary format—only you can understand the messages, which means you cant tie the ecosystems.
Inside the business, once the event comes in as XML, you can optimize it and do WSRM [Web Services Reliable Messaging]. You can say, Since I know that Im talking to myself, to my own system, I can byte-compress it, I can do all kinds of things to improve performance. But the minute I cross out of the protected garden, its always XML. Microsoft has always done this—across a VPN, between satellite offices—theyll use their own protocols for performance. As you develop your network of endpoints with xApps and the ESA, are you building what you once called a high-speed expressway? The Boston Big Dig? Only in places where were digging inside our own systems. Along a supply chain in a service-oriented architecture, your own system would include partners and subcontractors. Always XML, because when I go outside my company, I dont know whats on the other side. Now, if the two of them can actually do a handshake and say, Hey, by the way, we can optimize this, great. I dont believe that outside the company, optimization is so big. When I look outside, the big latency is network latency. Compressing, decompressing XML is not going to make a huge difference. Inside the company, I can build a huge pipe between my business processes written in ABAP, which I cant change—it runs my business, its been tested, I cant touch it—and my Java infrastructure so I can do my customization. That pipeline, which is getting crossed a hundred thousand times every second, can be optimized. Excellent—you gave me something that nobody else can do. Thats what we can dig underneath our own town to do this. But when I go outside the company, or between divisions, there is no value in changing this. How do you capture the value of the ESA at a time when were moving to this real-time platform, with mobile devices, etc? Youre right on the mark. The shift is not just in which device Im using to read it, it is whether the framework is proactive or reactive. Do you carry a BlackBerry? I do. The big difference in the Berry is not its screen, nor the keyboard, nor the semi-connectedness. The difference is the push model that it deploys. You always assume that its there—why? Because you didnt see the event until you had enough context about the events. The same thing happens here—the network needs to work behind the scenes seamlessly to actually expose to you just the events you need to know. I think thats the one thing we all love about our BlackBerries: They can filter the viruses out… Certainly its the lowest common denominator that filters them out. Were going into a model where the business network will become proactive. When I get the event, I wont get it just to you, I get it to everybody who needs to deal with it. Everybodys on the same page. And they get it within a context. Where is the context coming from? Mostly from master data. To use the RSS terminology, if I subscribe to a certain number of XML information feeds and put them in a certain order, an attention list—whats most important for me to listen to first—those kinds of decisions are the ones… Thats what the event processor does. Next page: ViewPoint event technology builds guided procedures.

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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