BeJUG Enterprise SOA Conference

, Oct 25, 2006

I gave a talk at yesterday’s Enterprise SOA Conference, organized by BeJUG (the Belgian Java User Group). It was a very nice event that gave me a chance to meet a bunch of interesting people from the SOA community; here is a short summary. (If you’re just looking for my slides, they are here; as usual, I don’t necessarily think they’re very useful without the audio.)

First of all, I met with and had the chance to talk for a while to Anne Thomas Manes (Burton Group analyst), Stephan Janssen (the event’s organizer), Arjen Poutsma (creator of Spring-WS), Steve Jones (cap gemini) and Robin Mulkers. (I also met, but did not really have time for long chat with Dennis Sosnoski, Dirk Slama and Thilina Gunarathne (WSO2). It’s always the talks in between presentations that are the most interesting aspect of a conference, and this time was no exception.

As to the talks I attended, the first one was the keynote speech from Dirk Slama (who stood in for Dirk Krafzig), presenting on “Strategic options for migrating your legacy to SOA” based on ideas from their Enterprise SOA book. I have some disagreements with his views — that would have made for an interesting discussion — but still, the talk was very good.

The next presentation was The Building Blocks of SOA by Anne Thomas Manes, who had some controversial statements I totally agree with: She draws a clear line between integration and SOA, and firmly puts the MOM-based ESB in the first camp. In other words: A JMS-based ESB is not a SOA technology, but an integration technology that only encourages what you want to get rid of. The only ESB concept she accepts is that of having an ESB (or in fact, multiple different ones) at the endpoints. I have been an enemy of the ESB concept for a long time, great to see such a well-known analyst agree with me here …

Next, I attended Michael Rowley’s talk on SCA. I wanted to take a closer look at SCA for a long time, and this was an excellent introduction. I am not yet convinced the world really needs SCA, but at least I have a much more informed opinion now … although not informed enough yet. I’ll likely post more about this later.

Next up (for me; there were three parallel tracks and it was often very hard to decide which one to attend): Steve Jones, whose blog I’ve been following for quite some time and who is also a frequent contributor to InfoQ (and author of one of the first minibooks). Steve’s a great presenter, and it was a lot of fun to listen to his down-to-earth, business-oriented talk on using SOA to optimize support and maintenance operations (instead of development of new stuff). Highly recommended.

I skipped the next talk (I had to put the finishing touches to my own presentation), but attended Arjen Poutsma’s talk about Spring Web Services. Arjen is a very likeable guy and a great presenter, and Spring-WS is probably turning out the Java Web services I might actually start to like. He’s planning a 1.0 release soon, but my guess is that it’s already at least as stable as Axis 2.

Next up was my own talk; I took a risk and spent an hour trying to evangelize REST to the masses. The talk went nicely from my perspective, but I did not receive that much feedback — it’s always hard to know what people think when they ask only a few questions. (Yes, that’s a hint — if you happened to both attend the talk and read this, I’d appreciate any feedback). As usual, the slides are online.

The last talk was by Thilina Gunarathne, who introduced the Apache web services stack (in other words, the whole bunch of projects that are currently being built on top of Axis2). I’m sad to say it was a little tiring; one of the funnier things was the way Axis “does REST” — by exposing operations as resources (!); Thilina even demoed how invoke a registerUser operation via GET (shudder) … REST is clearly a misnomer in this case. (But we’ve had that discussion before.)

All in all, this was a day well spent; all of the talks and presentations are supposed to be online soon (including an audio recording). Based on my limited first-hand knowledge and my impression of the organizers, I can only recommend BeJUG conferences — the next one is Javapolis. (Ah yes, one more thing … it’s not really James Gosling - but you guessed that already, didn’t you?)

On October 26, 2006 8:51 PM, Arjen Poutsma said:

“very likeable guy”? I must let my mother read this ;-).

On October 26, 2006 8:55 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Why? Would she disagree? ;-)

On October 30, 2006 2:58 PM, Stephan Janssen said:

Everybody becomes “very likeable” after several Belgian beers :o)