The IT Strategy Letter
April 10, 2003 (Subscribe)

Loosely Coupled Now Available (almost) Everywhere. The good news is that is offering my new book for 30% off. The bad news (for the moment) is that they're quoting 3-5 week delivery. That will become "Usually ships in 24 hours" as soon as their inventory arrives. In the U.K., shows a shot of the cover, but that's all. Barnes and Noble offers 20% off and is shipping in 2-3 days, or you can order direct from RDS Press, and we'll ship worldwide within 24 hours.
Posted Thursday, April 10, 2003 6:41:01 AM

Prepare for an Avalanche of Books. As Phil Wainewright points out, a number of "second-generation" books on web services and service-oriented architectures have just been published. These are the books that transcend the protocols and explore architecture and strategy. With so many titles appearing all at once, let's hope someone will take the time to write a comparative review for the community. (If you're that person, I'll arrange for you to receive a review copy of Loosely Coupled.)
Posted Friday, April 04, 2003 8:24:38 AM

SOAP Performance. I recently linked to an article in Australian IT about a study comparing the performance of SOAP to CORBA. I received a message from Chris Kohlhoff, one of the study's authors, suggesting that the Australian IT coverage might have been less than complete. On Chris' advice, I downloaded the original study's PDF.

Indeed, the study by Chris and Robert Steele only coincidentally addresses CORBA. It's focus is a comparison of SOAP, FIX (a text-based protocol for capital markets), and CDR (a binary-format protocol). Among their conclusions:

  • The text-based nature of XML is not sufficient to explain SOAP's inefficiency.
  • Improvements in the efficiency of SOAP encoders and decoders may enable its use in high performance business applications.
  • The cost of converting numerical data from test to binary, identified as major by other studies, does not have a predominant role. [They noted that financial applications--unlike scientific computing--typically don't use floating-point data.]
Unfortunately, when evaluating round-trip latency, Kohlhoff and Steele only used local (LAN) connections of 10mbps and 100mbps in which the underlying latency of the link is insignificant. I'd like to see the results of similar tests using long-haul multi-hop TCP/IP links of 1,000 miles or more in which the latency of the network itself can have a greater impact than the overhead of the protocols.
Posted Thursday, April 10, 2003 6:06:14 AM 

Security: Phil Wainewright. On, Phil points out that there isn't a single solution to all web-services security problems.
Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2003 11:22:35 AM

Security: David Chappell. David thinks, "It's hard to imagine how the people who defined WS-Security could have done a better job in solving this problem."

"The lack of good SOAP-based security mechanisms has had two main impacts. One is that firms tend to use Web services in situations where less-secure communication is acceptable, such as integrating apps inside the firewall. The other is that various less-than-ideal workarounds have been found to make communication with SOAP more secure." [Source:]
Posted Monday, March 31, 2003 9:53:04 AM

Will the Real Reliable Messaging Please Stand Up? Dave Chappell (the other David Chappell) has written a detailed comparison of the WS-Reliability and WS-Reliable Messaging protocols. This is a good introduction to the issues surrounding reliable messaging. [Source: WebServices Journal]
Posted Thursday, April 03, 2003 11:16:52 AM

Service Oriented Architectures. Clemens Vasters has posted this PowerPoint slide deck for a SOA talk he does on the Microsoft EMEA Architect's Tour 2003. Good concepts here. [776kb]
Posted Friday, April 04, 2003 2:54:39 AM

CTO Forum: Adam Bosworth Paints the Big Picture. Jon Udell does a great job of summarizing Adam Bosworth's presentation at InforWorld's CTO Forum. Jon's article is particularly worth reading.
Posted Wednesday, April 02, 2003 6:58:25 PM

CTO Forum: Buy Web Services and Spend Less. Phil Wainewright reports: "CIOs don't plan to buy any new applications, because deploying web services allows them to do more with the applications they've already got. And they don't need to buy any expensive new platforms to do it, they just need to use the standards and tools that are already out there."
Posted Wednesday, April 02, 2003 6:54:05 PM

An Interview with Eric Newcomer. "ADT's Jack Vaughan recently sat down with Iona's CTO Eric Newcomer to discuss SOAP, CORBA, and more." Eric is a guru of transactions, CORBA, and web services.
Posted Tuesday, April 01, 2003 8:51:30 AM

Netcraft via RSS. Mike Prettejohn has redesigned the Netcraft home page, and now offers its articles via RSS.
Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2003 3:45:09 PM

Level 3 to Exit Web Hosting Business. Level 3 is walking away from its web-hosting business, and handing the keys, staff, leases, and customers to Computer Sciences Corp. "The Internet hosting business was expected to generate revenues of about $40 million, and a loss, excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of about $5 million for the full year 2003." Given that Level 3 is the one telco that attracted investment from Warren Buffet, what does that say about the health and profitability of the web-hosting business? It's certainly not encouraging. [Source: Reuters]
Posted Friday, April 04, 2003 1:48:14 PM

Stay in Touch. In my latest Viewpoint column for Web Hosting Monthly, I explain to vendors the need to over communicate with their customers, and why they must always have an ENC (Expect Next Communications) time. Many other articles by the terrific WHIR editorial team. Web Hosting Monthly has become the best and most important publication in the industry.
Posted Monday, April 07, 2003 9:14:56 PM

Finding the Customer Sweet Spot . "The key to protecting yourself from being dumped is to make sure you're not an unusual customer--that you're squarely in the middle of your vendor's sweet spot in terms of requirements and budget." [My latest column for The Web Host Industry Review.]
Posted Tuesday, April 01, 2003 10:52:11 AM

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"...essential reading for anyone seeking to deploy this technology."

--John Hagel, III,
management consultant
and author of
"Out of the Box"


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