October 30, 2004
@ 11:46 AM

Harald und der ARD sei Dank. Dann kann ich ja den Fernseher wieder aus dem Keller holen.

Categories: Other Stuff

I get emails like that very frequently. I have some news.

Short story: Microsoft is still willing and working to publish the application that I presented at TechEd Europe (see Benjamin's report) and they keep telling me that it will come out. Apparently there is a lot of consensus building to be done to get a big sample application out of the door. So there's nothing to be found on msdn, yet.

Little known secret: There are 15 lucky indivduals who have already received (hand-delivered) the Proseware code as a technical preview under a non-disclosure agreement. Because we (newtelligence) designed and wrote the sample application, we have permission to distribute the complete sample to participants of our SOA workshops and seminars.

So if you want to get yours hands on it, all you need to do is to send mail to training@newtelligence.com to sign up for one of the public events [Next published date is Dec 1-3, and the event is held in German, unless we get swamped with international inquiries] or you send email to the same address asking for an on-site workshop delivery. At this time, we (and MS) bind the code sample to workshop attendance so that you really understand why the application was built like it's built and that you fully understand the guidance that the application implicitly and explicitly carries (and doesn't carry).

Categories: SOA | Web Services

October 26, 2004
@ 02:29 PM

At a friend's company, a network hub has been dying a horrible and slow (literally) death until this morning when it got replaced. Of course, they are asking how a networking device like that, without moving parts can start to produce random errors, become gradually slower and sporadically just outright stop working for a little while and then be fine again. Given that after my mostly unsuccessful and expensive attempts to do anything with hardware, a buddy of mine once said "if there is ever a robot invasion from outer space, we'll send Clemens and he'll kill them singlehandedly", that's an excellent question for which I have no good answer, but only a theory: bit erosion!

I suspect that they (our friends) have unhealthily balanced data that has substantially more "1"s than "0"s. Now, when you look at "1" vs. "0", you'll immediately know what I mean. "1" is a lot more edgy and when you send "1"s through a data bus or through a cable, it's pretty obvious that every "1" will scratch along the sides here and there. If you have balanced data, the "0" (round and smooth) will usually polish it all out and while the data bus shows a little bit of wear and tear over time, it usually works well for many, many Exabytes. Now, if you have many more "1"s go down the data bus than "0"s, the bus gets all scratchy from the inside, actual potholes develop and subsequently "1"s start to get stuck. When they get stuck, "0"s bump into them, other "1"s slip past (probably even through a "0"!) and it's all getting really messy. And when you look at it all on a few levels higher up, you start losing packets and stuff gets slow and in the end everybody is unhappy and blames it on the software. The only cure for the problem that I can think of is to do data balancing that ensures a proper proportional flow of "1"s and "0"s. I think that's a totally plausible explanation and cries out loud for software that fixes this problem. ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

October 26, 2004
@ 12:50 PM

Below are two SOAP messages that are only subtly different when you look at the XML text, but the way how they “want to be treated” at the endpoint differs quite dramatically. The first targets a data-item/record/object and triggers a method, while the second targets an interface/endpoint/API and triggers a function/procedure.

The first message carries an out-of-band reference that is in the header, the second has that same reference inside the body. The first is a bit like how the implicit “this pointer” argument is passed “invisibly” to a C++ or C# method, the second is like passing an explicit context argument in C or (classic) Pascal or any other procedural language. The first binds to logic belonging to a specific object, the second binds to some object-neutral handling logic.

 

 

[1]
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap=”http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope”
               xmlns:wsa=”http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2004/08/addressing”>
     <soap:Header>
           <wsa:To>http://www.example.org/Giro/Transfer</wsa:To>
           <my:Account xmlns:my=”http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank”>262616161</my:Account>
           <wsa:Action>http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank/Giro/Transfer</wsa:Action>
            …
     </soap:Header>
     <soap:Body>
            <my:Transfer xmlns:my=”http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank”>
               <my:TransferDestination>
                   <my:AccountNo>99999999999</my:AccountNo>
                   <my:Recipient>Peter Sample</my:Recipient>
                   <my:RoutingCode codeType=”DE-BLZ”>00000000</my:RoutingCode>
                   <my:Destination>Sample Bank</my:Destination>   
               </my:TransferDestination>
               <my:Amount>100.78</my:Amount>
               <my:Currency>EUR</my:Currency>
               <my:TransferDate>2004-10-27</my:TransferDate>
               <my:ValueDate>2004-10-27</my:ValueDate>
            <my:Transfer>
     </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>


[2]
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap=”http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope”
               xmlns:wsa=”http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2004/08/addressing” >
     <soap:Header>
            <wsa:To>http://www.example.org/Giro/Transfer</wsa:To>
            <wsa:Action>http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank/Giro/Transfer</wsa:Action>
            …
     </soap:Header>
     <soap:Body>
            <my:Transfer xmlns:my=”http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank”>
               <my:Account>262616161</my:Account>
               <my:TransferDestination>
                   <my:AccountNo>99999999999</my:AccountNo>
                   <my:Recipient>Peter Sample</my:Recipient>
                   <my:RoutingCode codeType=”DE-BLZ”>00000000</my:RoutingCode>
                   <my:Destination>Sample Bank</my:Destination>   
               </my:TransferDestination>
               <my:Amount>100.78</my:Amount>
               <my:Currency>EUR</my:Currency>
               <my:TransferDate>2004-10-27</my:TransferDate>
               <my:ValueDate>2004-10-27</my:ValueDate>
            <my:Transfer>
     </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

 

 

A possible endpoint reference (“object pointer” in OOldspeak) for the message target for [1] is

 

<wsa:EndpointReference xmlns:wsa=”http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2004/08/addressing” >
    <wsa:Address>http://www.example.org/Giro/Transfer</wsa:Address>

    <wsa:ReferenceParameters>
         <my:Account xmlns:my=”http://schemas.newtelligence.com/2004/10/MyBank”>262616161</my:Account>
    <wsa:ReferenceParameters> 

    ...
<wsa:EndpointReference>


A possible endpoint reference for [2] is

 

<wsa:EndpointReference xmlns:wsa=”http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2004/08/addressing” >
    
<wsa:Address>http://www.example.org/Giro/Transfer</wsa:Address>

<wsa:EndpointReference>

 

I am sure it’s boring to everybody else, but I find it quite funny how WS-Addressing turns out to be the “Object Access Protocol” for SOAP ;-)

Categories: Web Services

Even in the 3rd year, the event seems absolutely bizarre, but it's great fun watching, nevertheless.
 

Categories: Other Stuff

Perspective 1:

I am not a fan of the way WS-Eventing is relying on WS-Addressing's EPR binding rules to correlate subscription responses (containing a parameterized "wse:SubscriptionManager" EPR holding the subscription identifier in wsa:ReferenceParameters, see table 5, line 24-26 in WS-Eventing) with subsequent renewals, unsubscribe and status inquiry operations and forces the most central information bit for the respective operation ("Which subscription do you wish to renew?") into the header of the respective message (wse:Identifier) instead of having it in the body.

So for the "GetStatus" operation, you end up with a single body element "GetStatus" that doesn't carry any content [see table 8, lines 19-21 and line 24 in WS-Eventing]. I know that XML lost everything intuitive about it a long time back, but the way this works is really counterintuitive and just doesn't look right. I would expect <GetStatus>uri:Subscription-Identifier</GetStatus>.

Perspective 2:

Now on the other hand! this is actually a sound approach if I were looking at the said SubscriptionManager EPR as a resource. What the wsa:ReferenceParameter does to the EPR is that it binds it uniquely to the respective subscription (section 1.3 of the spec mandates this).

What's confusing here (and not really a good name choice in my view) is that the wse:SubscriptionManager EPR does NOT only point to the subscription manager endpoint, but rather binds all the way through to a specific subscription. Once the binding process to that subscription is done, the requsted action is then executed on the bound resource.

Ok ... I am sorry ... too abstract? I'll rephrase.

What I am saying is that WS-Eventing is an example showing how messages aren't necessarily targeted at the thing with [WebMethod] on top of it, but they may indeed be targeted at something more specific like a database record. So the binding of the endpoint reference is not a matter of the client stopping at http://somewhere/blahblah.asmx but is only complete when the wse:Identifier header is evaluated on the service-side and inside blahblah.asmx, resolved against the subscription database and the actual message target, the respective subscription record, is found. Once the EPR is fully resolved to yield the message target (the record), <GetStatus/> indeed becomes a parameterless operation and the body does not have to carry further content.

EPR = Moniker ;-)

Categories: Web Services

Whenever you start thinking stuff is stable, it turns out that it is not the case. I am trying to implement a WS-Eventing compliant service and of course I ran into the issue that that specification sits on the August 2004 edition (and W3C submission) of WS-Addressing while WSE 2.0 sits on the March 2004 edition of WS-Addressing. To implement WS-Eventing correctly, I would now have to write a WS-Adressing implementation parallel to the one existing in WSE 2.0, because - of course - the August 2004 edition sports a new namespace and has a subtly different schema. Unfortunately, the March 2004 edition of WS-Addressing  is so fundamental for WSE 2.0 that routing and security and everything would sit on the March version while my own eventing functionality and nothing else would ride on the August version at the same time and in the same message. Of course that seems just totally wrong.  WSE 2.1, please!

Categories: Web Services

I feel like I have been "out of business" for a really long time and like I really got nothing done in the past 3 months, even though that's objectively not true. I guess that's "conference & travel withdrawal", because I had tone and tons of bigger events in the first half of the year and 3 smaller events since TechEd Amsterdam in July. On the upside, I am pretty relaxed and have certainly reduced my stress-related health risks ;-)

So with winter and its short days coming up, the other half of my life living a 1/3 around the planet until next spring, I can and am going to spend some serious time on a bunch of things:

On the new programming stuff front:
     Catch up on what has been going on in Indigo in recent months, dig deeper into "everything Whidbey", figure out the CLR aspects of SQL 2005 and familiarize myself with VS Team System.

On the existing programming stuff front:
      Consolidate my "e:\development\*"  directory on my harddrive and pull together all my samples and utilities for Enterprise Services, ASP.NET Web Services and other enterprise-development technologies and create a production-quality library from of them for us and our customers to use. Also, because the Indigo team is doing quite a bit of COM/COM+ replumbing recently in order to have that prohgraming model ride on Indigo, I have some hope that I can now file bugs/wishes against COM+ that might have a chance of being addressed. If that happens and a particular showstopper is getting out of the way, I will reopen this project here and will, at the very least, release it as a toy.

On the architectural stuff front:
         Refine our SOA Workshop material, do quite a bit of additional work on the FABRIQ, evolve the Proseware architecture model, and get some pending projects done. In addition to our own SOA workshops (the next English-language workshop is held December 1-3, 2004 in Düsseldorf), there will be a series of invite-only Microsoft events on Service Orientation throughout Europe this fall/winter, and I am very happy that I will be speaking -- mostly on architecture topics -- at the Microsoft Eastern Mediterranean Developer Conference in Amman/Jordan in November and several other locations in the Middle East early next year. 

And even though I hate the effort around writing books, I am seriously considering to write a book about "Services" in the next months. There's a lot of stuff here on the blog that should really be consolidated into a coherent story and there are lots and lots of considerations and motiviations for decisons I made for FABRIQ and Proseware and other services-related work that I should probably write down in one place. One goal of the book would be to write a pragmatic guide on how to design and build services using currently shipping (!) technologies that does focus on how to get stuff done and not on how to craft new, exotic SOAP headers, how to do WSDL trickery, or do other "cool" but not necessarily practical things. So don't expect a 1200 page monster. 

In addition to the "how to" part, I would also like to incorporate and consolidate other architect's good (and bad) practical design and implementation experiences, and write about adoption accelerators and barriers, and some other aspects that are important to get the service idea past the CFO. That's a great pain point for many people thinking about services today. If you would be interested in contributing experiences (named or unnamed), I certainly would like to know about it.

And I also think about a German-to-English translation and a significant (English) update to my German-language Enterprise Services book.....

[And to preempt the question: No, I don't have a publisher for either project, yet.]

Categories: Architecture | SOA | Blog | IT Strategy | newtelligence | Other Stuff | Talks

October 12, 2004
@ 11:11 AM

Five weeks already. No pain, no tricks. I simply quit.

Categories: Other Stuff

October 12, 2004
@ 09:28 AM

Michael Willers really got his blog going while I was on vacation.

Categories:

October 11, 2004
@ 09:57 PM

Today is a great day. Awesome day. Wonderful day. Significant day. Life changing day. Happily-ever-after day. Life is good.

Categories:

October 11, 2004
@ 04:59 PM

Microsoft seems to be struggling with the Messenger service in the past two days. Right now I cannot sign in, I got booted frequently yesterday and yesterday night I could see everybody but chat with noone. What really sucks about that is that I realize how much some parts of work and life have become a dependent on Messenger working - and switching to another service or between services is not really a good answer to the problem. What's the Messenger SLA (Service-Level Agreement), anyways? 

Categories: Other Stuff

Microsoft created a new category in their MVP program for “Solution Architects” and coming back from my vacation I was happy to find out that they awarded me with the 2004 “Most Valuable Professional” title in that new category. Thank you, Microsoft! (…and thanks for the MP3 player gift, too)

Categories: Blog


4 straight weeks are the longest time I have been offline and off work (cheating only for 3 smaller speaking engagements that were “on the way”) in the last 6 years or so. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really been offline and not working for more than 10 days straight in the last 6 years either. Together with my best-ever travel buddy and best friend Jen, I had some of the best weeks ever. We went to catch the end of the beach season on the Turkish west-coast for a week and also went to see the ancient sites of Troy, Assos and Pergamon as well as the WWI battlegrounds of Gallipolli at the Dardanells strait (all those pictures are still on – undeveloped – film).

With less than 24h turnaround at my house, we packed the car and then went on to Berlin (1st speaking engagement) for a day, and proceeded to Munich (2nd speaking engagement) on a smooth and relaxed 180 km/h evening trip. After I was done working, we celebrated the evening at Oktoberfest (including rollercoaster ride, the essential sausage treats and plenty of beer) with a bunch of people we instantly made friends with. Next day we crossed “this is all way too green” Austria into Slovenia for two great days in the wonderful Slovenian capital of Ljubljana (“Their stuff is cute!”).

From Slovenia the road took us through a tiny bit of Croatia and then back onto EU territory in Hungary where we drove along the magnificent Lake Balaton towards the next stop at Budapest for 2 days of sightseeing, wining (!), dining and then also a bit of sightseeing and wining and dining.

The following road day we went to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The city center of Bratislava is an amazing place in that it is a maze in which you can always find a new little street and new places whenever you think you found them all. Yet, you can go once around the center in 20 minutes. (And someone really needs to develop their river front with bars and restaurants!).

Bratislava is also where we shot the most politically loaded picture of the tour.

Jen thinks its totally appropriate and great symbolism and I think it’s a little too much. Note how the rainbow ends right in the embassy of the United States of America.  

The next day we went on a great hike for a few hours in the hills around Bratislava, which sits at the foot of the Carpathian mountain range.

Next day, next drive: onwards to Poland and Krakow.

Even though all places were awesome, Krakow turned out to be our favorite city and we stayed 3 nights. Krakow is not only full of historic sights and other great things to see, but is also an amazing place for people watching at the grand market square (the biggest in Europe) and for great food.

Part of the Krakow experience were also a necessary yet very disturbing visit at the museum and memorial in Auschwitz and, much happier, a visit to my aunt Elli who lives in nearby Katowice.


The man who made our Krakow experience absolutely perfect was fellow Microsoft Regional Director Tadeusz Golonka who I called just an hour before we got to Krakow to say Hello and who immediately dropped all work to give us an impressive tour through Krakow’s center (better than any professional tour guide could do it) and also went to dinner with us on two nights. Thank you!  

After Krakow we made a fairly quick drive westward to Wroclaw, where we first documented several instances of one of the recurring people watching themes of the tour (“serious case of white shoes”) and then later got totally trashed in a nightclub right at Wroclaw’s main market square after a fabulous dinner.  

After a rather late check out the next morning, we went back to Germany and to Dresden, where we went to see Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly in the world famous “Semperoper” opera house and were impressed by the energy (and money) put into the ongoing reconstruction of Dresden’s Frauenkirche and other great old buildings after the WWII destruction and Communist neglect.

Even though it would have been great to spend more time in Dresden, we had to move on to my brother’s house near Hannover the next day (for beers) and then onwards to Hamburg (my 3rd speaking engagement).  

In Hamburg we did the obligatory tour through the sea port, strolled through the wild red-light district in St. Pauli at night and went shopping in the classy Jungfernstieg area.

With my talks in Hamburg done, we packed up and went back my house near Düsseldorf, completing a 3800km driving loop through Central Europe.

We had an awesome time at all the places we went to. Europe is a great place, isn’t it?

Ah, and: I am back! ;-)

 

 

 

Categories: Other Stuff