There’s an interesting interview with Niall McCullough, architect, yesterday in the Irish Times weekend magazine, about the new version of his book “Dublin: An Urban History” (unfortunately the Irish Times online is only premium paid-for content so I can only give you this url to the article). There’s also an interesting web site, giving additional histories of
One of the things which I had not realized about Georgian Dublin is that the buildings, which of course are a part of our heritage, were apparently in general not built to last! The article says: “Based on a land-lease system, the terraces and squares were designed to stand for the lifetime of the lease, usually between 40 and 100 years, whereupon they would be torn down and built again.” Perhaps this is one reason why the Georgian Society has had so many challenges in trying to preserve the best of Georgian Dublin for us and for future generations.
Earlier in the last week, I was in Liaoning province in north east
Then on Friday, having traveled back to Europe the previous day, I was with some folks from IONA, visiting one of our customers in the financial services sector, in
As an aside, I do wonder whether “architect” is the appropriate title for somebody like Tom. I tend to think of civil architects as professionals who design buildings. Rather somebody like Tom is really an “urban planner” – he presides over the current and future infrastructure of an entire software city, on which individual applications – buildings – are built.
Anyway. With previous middleware technologies – DCE, DCOM, CORBA, J2EE, etc – and with all due respect to those thousands of technologists world-wide who worked to create these technologies, I think there was always an expectation amongst senior architects (urban planners ?) and IT visionaries, that each of these technologies would fade in time. Sure, each might be strong enough to last for a decade or so, but business logic and applications that were built to exploit any one of these technologies were constructed in the expectation that a more modern, better middleware technology, would emerge within at most a decade. It was perhaps like the relatively short land leases of Georgian Dublin I mentioned above: build your artifacts in the expectation of re-building them a few years later. And so the middleware world proved to be,
Tom postulated that, at long last, enterprise software architects (urban planners ?) can be like the Victorians of over a century ago: laying down infrastructure – whether it be urban water supply, underground and metro train networks, or even sewage pipe networks (what is the best analogy for middleware ? – I leave it to your personal prejudice!) – that will last for a hundred years or so. Is SOA the end of middleware as we know it ? Isn’t SOA good enough to give us a stable infrastructure for at least a hundred years ?
Well, my view is yes, I agree that it is but with one proviso: one has to construct a SOA based (urban-like, city) environment in the expectation that middleware technologies will in fact continue to evolve and change. SOA may mark the end of middleware as we know it, yes Tom, but its chief contribution in this context is its meta-level. In the same way that metadata in a database allows one to reason and manipulate the underlying data, so should a SOA system enable one to reason and manipulate the underlying middleware.
SOA capabilities in frameworks like Artix and its open source companion Celtix allow a de-coupling between business logic and services, and the underlying middleware. In particular, future middleware technologies can be inserted into such frameworks. The meta-level capabilities enable dynamic re-configuration, including for example interface versioning, data versioning, retooling and end-point guardianship.
With SOA, we have indeed reached the end of middleware as we know it, and can now enable enterprise applications which can be built to last.