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IBM WebSphere Embraces REST

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“Last Thursday I said I was struggling to sum up IBM’s Connect09 analyst conference. I still am.” says James Governor, an Industry Analyst with RedMonk, speaking of a session titled Federated Connectivity  – Smarter Integration Across and Beyond The Enterprise hosted by AIM (Application Integration and Middleware) General Manager Craig Hayman at the Connect09 analyst conference. He says

I wasn’t really sure what the session would be about, but I expected some cloud and Big SOA stuff. I sat listening to a pitch that seemed to basically run: “We told you guys to do SOA but instead you did point to point ESB integration, and are now complaining you didn’t get the benefits of SOA, so now we have to offer you some products that make your poor architectural choices less of a problem. […] when suddenly I realised Craig was saying something pretty revolutionary. REST-style development and integration is part of the SOA world, and AIM is increasingly supporting REST in its products.

James blames the WS-* stack for derailing SOA adoption:

SOA is about Enterprise Architecture, which has a value. Architecture, Discipline, Freedom. It turns out that some of the Web Services standards so beloved of a certain constituency that wanted to “do Corba right” are indeed flatlining, but SOA is actually in bloody good health.

and points to IBM’s pragmatic shift to RESTful SOA and tooling support in its Application Integration and Middleware offerings, in an effort to make it easier for customers to "get things done" and increase is product adoption.

The new Service Federation Management product is not based on Big SOA WS-* style integration. On the contrary, its designed to be easy to use, to make point to point integration more programmatic. […] You see IBM has this thing called WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), a tool for managing SOA services. While that may have initially meant implement UDDI, today we have a nice ATOM-based store, with a more metadata, and less WS-* specific approach. IBM took a flexible, modern approach to architecting WSRR, and it shows.

We see a glimpse of where IBM is headed in the near term with its AIM strategy. He observes that while most IBM customers may behind the web oriented architecture adoption curve, it wont be long before IBM starts getting them ready for the next wave of development and integration styles. He goes on to give a few examples of how IBM’s product line is demonstrating some of this, he says

I was quite taken with the demos of WebSphere end point to integration, for example. While this post is about WebSphere, I should also note that the Rational Refactoring otherwise knows as Jazz is based on RESTful foundations. Indeed-one of the reasons IBM is finding it easier to integrate Rational, WebSphere and Tivoli artefacts and models is because of the emerging foundation – Hypermedia as the engine of Application State. The Lotus mashup stuff is of course REST oriented.

While it is a step in the right direction towards doing SOA right, one, that provides value and ROI to enterprises. As James says “SOA is about Enterprise Architecture which has a value. Architecture, Discipline, Freedom”. Do read the James’ original post for further insights about the conference and IBM’s integration product offerings.

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