|By Victor Rasputnis, Yakov Fain, Anatole Tartakovsky||
|January 27, 2012 05:00 AM EST||
This article is a transcript from a recorded conversation Yakov Fain had with Anatole Tartakovsky and Victor Rasputnis – his business partners at Farata Systems. This conversation took place on the mountain after the day of skiing.
Yakov. There are many ways of creating Web applications and creating them for the enterprises is not the same as developing a Web site for a pizzeria in your neighborhood. During the last five years we’ve been using mainly Adobe Flex for development of the front end of Web applications. Flex applications work in a well known and predictable run-time environment called Flash Player. The code is compiled and you have convenient tools for development.
Anatole, we did it in the past and it seems that we’re entering the same waters again. Is it still the same river 7-8 years after?
Anatole. DHTML has been introduced in the Internet Explorer 5, and several years later it was renamed to AJAX.
Y. Back in 1999 Microsoft created XMLHttpRequest object to allow their Web version of the mail client Outlook to update the browser’s window without the need to refresh the entire page. Is this right?
A. Partially. IE5 also had the XSL transformation tool for HTML generation and sopported development of custom plugins. The market share of IE5 was about 90%, but in enterprises it was literally the only approved browser.
Victor. At the same time, IE5 supported the model of HTML components called HTC. It allowed you to create htc files containing your own custom components with properties and methods, which were visible in the Web browser’s DOM with all these properties.
V. If you ask me what has changed the most – it’s perception. In the beginning of this century we worked in the DHTML environment. Only a small number of developers was involved with this “suspicious” development. Enterprise architects had hard time adopting this pre-AJAX model and often asked the same question, “This is not J2EE, right?” We’d answer, “No, it’s not”. Then it was clear to the architects that it’s some amateurish offering that could be ignored.
During the last six years, development with Flex slowly became an approved enterprise technology – it’s compiled and controlled environment with good performance, testing tools, and internationalization support. Then, Adobe turned its back on Flex.
Y. And the way they did it could be included in the Bad PR section in textbooks. Instead of starting Adobe MAX conference in October of 2011 with a proud announcement that Adobe is donating Flex to Apache Foundation, which would get a standing ovation, they waited a month and made the same announcement right after declaring that they wouldn’t support Flash Player (Flex runtime) on the mobile devices. This sounded as if they wanted to kill Flex. But we know that Flex is alive!
V. Yes, it’s alive. Technically it remains the best environment for development of Web application, but politically it became the product of the past.
V. It depends on the type of the person who’ll be managing this project. Is it a corporate or a startup manager? A corporate manager is a temporary person. He works 6-12 months and the either gets transferred to another position or leaves the company. He’s not really interested in the end result. He can stay within the budget during specific period of time, but the project may fail in the long run.
Y. Yes, the main goal of the corporate managers is to climb up the corporate ladder and earn good bonuses and pensions rather than creating advanced applications.
V. They don’t always climb up the ladder. Sometimes they move sideways to another firm, where the same position brings more money or other career opportunities. That’s why the success of a specific project may have a lower priority to these managers.
A. If you want to develop two identical projects in Flex and HTML5, there is a high probability that the HTML5 project will be more expensive. But I doubt that anyone will even try to reach the Flex-level quality in an HTML5 project. Any HTML5 enterprise project will have lower requirements in the first place. From the very beginning parameters like reliability, ability to adapt to different the screen sizes and densities will be simplified. Instead of implementing these features, the functional specification will include testing under seven browsers, and developers will spend most of their time in the debugger.
But often the HTML part this is just a tip of the iceberg. The base functionality is usually developed in Java or .Net, and back-office applications should be using Flex for UI anyway.
We spent more than six years in DHTML. We wrote our own framework and implemented DHTML enterprise applications for the Fortune 100 companies. We know all the loopholes in these environments and which ones still remain unpatched. As of today, you can’t compare Flex and DHTML. But there are some narrow fields, where you must complement Flex applications with DHTML.
Most enterprise applications have front end, back end, and back office (support, error fixes, et al.). The front end tier can consist of DHTML and Flex parts because today it’s hard to develop front and back office application in the same environment.
a) Those that allow you to take an existing Web site and, by a magic wand, add new attributes to all
b) The frameworks that are similar to Flex in that they offer high-level components, which may be based on
After further analysis I’ve learned that the framework Ext JS by Sencha is close to what Flex offers, but without compilation, data binding, and with less control.
Y. Would your example work the same way for developers who have dogs?
V. Yes, but the number of errors will increase.
A. Today I lead projects that use both frameworks. JQuery is a light framework (code wise) and it can be used to program about 80% of a Web site. You should use it for the look and feel support, which is what it’s meant for. But you can’t use it for building your application component model. The component model of Ext JS is applicable in about 20% of a Web site, which includes an application piece rather than just being a set of Web pages. Typically it’s a serious view navigator or a wizard to implement a serious business process or a workflow that includes a client’s part.
Y. Data grid, of course…
A. Yes, high-level components and a workflow because often the user needs to perform several steps to complete a business process. And these 20% of an application will require 80% of the project time of complex development. So you won’t need to choose between these two frameworks. My main problem with AJAX projects is not how to pick THE best framework for development, but finding the right software developers. It’s hard to find people who don’t have cats around and can concentrate.
V. Absolutely, an extreme concentration and attention is a must.
Y. Or you can use one more framework that will take care of testing.
Y. Plus Java doesn’t support dynamic programming…
A. These questions were raised many years ago – remember the languages like curl? These languages were in R&D…
V. But they never became standardized for the use in Web browsers.
A. Partially this is correct. If you want to create a real dynamic or static language with the error checking and runtime compilation, you’ll have to substitute their constructors with the strongly-type ones that can throw exceptions.
C++ supports operator overloading and people used this feature for some time. But it didn’t last long – they realized that it’s hard to read and understand their own code. If a language allows you to write a code fragment that’s hard to understand – it’s better to remove this code.
In the compiled environment I’d always known each type and if an object still had certain properties or they were removed. But there is nothing like this in interpreted environment.
A. You can research the code, open each base class and check the references and find out what the properties are – the language will help you with this. I liked dynamic languages when I was 26 years old. A development manager will also have to hire young and very enthusiastic but inexperienced developers.
V. Today’s labor market consists of such people – inexpensive, enthusiastic, and inexperienced.
A. On AJAX projects such a developer will spend the first two months studying, on the third month he’ll start working, and in six months he quits for a simple reason – development is hard and the project arrived to a dead end. When the code base of such project reaches critical mass, the development process gets stuck.
V. The developer will quit not necessarily because the project got stuck. This developer will get more rewarding offers on the job market.
A. In other words, the project stops in 5-6 months – it becomes unmanageable because of its size. That’s why I’d like to stress that there is big difference between AJAX projects and those that are being developed in a compiled environment like ActionScript.
V. The core part of frameworks try to address browser compatibility. They try to ensure that the page works as good as possible in every browser within its limit. But the script will work.
A. I don’t agree. In my opinion you can achieve browser compatibility not on the framework level, but by testing and adjustment of your application in different browsers. The statement that it’ll work somehow is an exaggeration. The chances are that you’ll have to fix the framework.
V. True. I already started making some changes in the framework even without developing overly complicated code. Maintaining compatibility is a huge challenge for any vendor that supports a framework. I remember our XMLSP framework that we created in the beginning of this century. We had a client form Great Britain who said, “This product is bigger than your company”. If I’m not mistaken, there were five of us who worked on XMLSP.
I’m sure, Sencha has more developers who work on Ext JS, but the framework is a lot bigger than we had. Most likely the code base and the task they are trying to achieve are comparable to Adobe Flex. No wonder that any such framework will always need some fixes and improvements.
A. To rephrase what Victor said, either work with the simplest framework components that don’t give you compatibility problems or get ready to roll up your sleeves, learn what’s under the framework’s hood and staff your project with not not only application developers, but with systems engineers too who will spend half of their time on customizing the framework.
V. At this point the framework becomes your product too. I wouldn’t agree that half of the time should be spent on customization of the framework. It all depends on the long term plans. If you bet on a particular framework and plan to use it for years, than invest into its improvements But if this framework just had to address the needs of one project, just apply some patches and move on. In most projects patching a framework will suffice.
– Reliability of communications. What if the data never arrive from/to the server? Is it possible to recover the lost data? Where they got lost? Can we re-send the lost data? What to do with duplicates?
- Modularization of your application. If a user never clicked on a certain menu item on the main screen, don’t even load the code that should process this menu.
- How quickly the main window of your application is loaded to the user’s computer? How heavy is the framework’s code base?
- Where to store the application state – on the server or on the client?
- Does the framework offer a rich library of components?
- Does the framework support creation of loosely coupled application components? Is the event model well designed?
- Does the framework of your choice cover most of the needs of your application or you’ll need to use several frameworks?
- Is well written documentation available?
- Is there an active community that can help you with technical questions?
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 2,717
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 26, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,531
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 26, 2015 12:45 AM EST Reads: 3,470
SYS-CON Events announced today that ActiveState, the leading independent Cloud Foundry and Docker-based PaaS provider, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. ActiveState believes that enterprises gain a competitive advantage when they are able to quickly create, deploy and efficiently manage software solutions that immediately create business value, but they face many challenges that prevent them from doing so. The Company is uniquely positioned to help address these challenges thro...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,787
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,333
SYS-CON Media announced that Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, has launched a new ad campaign in Cloud Computing Journal. The ad campaign, a webcast titled 'Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy?', focuses on the latest data center networking technologies, including SDN or ACI, and how customers are using SDN and ACI in their organizations to achieve business agility. The Cisco webcast is available on-demand.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,261
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 3,811
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,745
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,020
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:30 PM EST Reads: 3,050
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,450
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,584
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,463
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,264
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 2,886
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 3,786
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,880
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,823
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,486
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,957