|By Paul Maurer||
|October 27, 2003 12:00 AM EST||
What do you do after you've cofounded a company that developed award-winning products for distributed computing, won a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and finished a book on Web services? If you're Graham Glass you start another company and continue pushing the envelope of distributed computing.
The company is The Mind Electric (TME) and the envelope is one of simplicity. TME has tried to build a Web services platform with a simple conceptual model and an easy-to-understand API. It is working on a next-generation product they're calling a "Web services fabric" code named GAIA but this review focuses on their current platform, Glue 4.1.
Today APIs are proliferating like rabbits and frameworks are getting larger and more complex. When I wear my developer hat, I prefer to work at the API level. It helps to promote an understanding of the mechanics of the system, but it gets harder and harder to keep up. Graphical tools, like wizards, can hide the complexity of large frameworks, but after the initial code-generation phase is done most of these tools are not useful or tend to get in the way. With the ever-increasing complexity of application servers, Glue takes a welcome step in the right direction, the direction of simplicity.
If you're looking to put your toe in the water of Web services but recoil from the complexity of working with a full-blown J2EE application server, then Glue may be the product for you.
Flavors of Glue
There are two versions of Glue: Standard, which is free but unsupported; and Professional. Although Glue Standard is unsupported by TME, there is an interest group available on Yahoo! that gives you access to the TME user community at large.
Glue Professional comes with support
via TME's online issue tracker
and includes these high-end features:
You can download Glue from the TME Web site. Installation was quick and simple. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the installer automatically set up my environment. I could get down to running through the examples without additional twiddling. This may seem trivial, but you would be surprised how many platforms require additional setup and configuration (e.g., proper CLASSPATH setting) after the installer has run.
Glue comes with a full complement of API documentation in Javadoc format and a Users Guide. The installer also sets up links to the online TME interest group and issue tracker.
The Simplest of Services
Getting a service up and running in Glue is incredibly easy. Any Java object can become a service by simply publishing an instance of the object to the Glue registry. There is no preprocessing or configuration required.
Listing 1 (the code is online at www.syscon.com/webservices/sourcec.com) shows a basic object called Converter that converts temperature in Fahrenheit to Celsius. It requires only two lines of code to expose this object as a Web service. Line 25 starts a Web server that accepts messages via the /glue path. Line 26 exports the object as a Web service. Other than the import statements at lines 4 and 5, that's all that's required.
By default, Glue exports all public, static, and instance methods of the object. If I want to expose only a subset of the methods I can create a Java interface that defines the set of methods I choose to expose. The interface.class is published along with the object and Glue exports the methods of the interface. If I don't have control of the source code of the object, I can control method exposure by supplying a Context object that contains a list of method properties.
A Simple Client
Writing a Web service client using Glue is also easy. Listing 2 shows a test client for the Converter service. Line 11 binds to the service and returns an object that implements the published interface. The service can now be treated as a standard Java object.
There are a few things in this example that need further explanation. The first parameter of the bind method is the URL of the WSDL for the Web service. To obtain the WSDL for the Web service I just need to append .wsdl to the service URL. Glue will generate the WSDL automatically from the interface and cache it for future use. The second argument of the bind is the class of the interface for the service. I didn't define an interface for my Web service, but Glue can generate one from the service definition with its wsdl2java tool.
This example may seem overly simplistic but TME provides a large assortment of examples that exercise a wide range of Glue's features including support for .NET.
You may worry that a tool that provides such a simple interface would not offer the power and flexibility that a typical large enterprise would need. Glue has more advanced features than most would need.
If you want to monitor or modify the message stream, Glue provides a feature called Interceptors. Interceptors are leveraged throughout Glue to provide advanced processing of SOAP headers and attachments.
Glue supports SOAP over the Java Message Service (JMS). Both synchronous and asynchronous messaging styles are supported and services can be published simultaneously over JMS and HTTP.
For those who insist on only using Java standard APIs, Glue provides implementations of JAX-RPC and JAXM.
Hard-core techies can completely bypass the use of Java interfaces and Java/XML serialization. Glue provides the ability to directly create, invoke, and process raw SOAP messages.
Finally, for high-volume systems Glue can reduce the size of SOAP messages by utilizing optimizations like tag substitution, envelope omission, and HREF inlining.
Although Glue runs easily out of the box as a stand-alone lightweight application server, it can plug into any application server that supports servlets. In this hosted mode, Glue can expose any stateless session bean as a Web service. The Users Guide provides instructions for installing glue under BEA WebLogic, WebSphere, and SunONE application servers.
If you're an IDE jockey you'll be happy to find plug-ins for JBuilder, Eclipse, and IDEA.
I was definitely happy with the speed at which I could install Glue and get a scratch Web service up and running. But I was really impressed when I began to dig in and found a depth of features I had not expected from a platform that strived for simplicity. I've always liked the adage, "Good tools make simple tasks easy and complex tasks possible." I think that adage sticks with Glue.
The Mind Electric
15455 Dallas Parkway
Millenium Building, 6th Floor
Addison, TX 75001
Phone: (972) 764-5115
Fax: (972) 764-3215
E-mail: [email protected]
Developer License: $1000 per developer
Runtime License: $2000 per CPU
OS: Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 1)
Hardware: Intel Pentium III – 996 MHz – 512 MB RAM
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 26, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,812
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and applicati...
May. 26, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,643
Application development and delivery methods have undergone radical changes in recent years to improve scalability and resiliency. Container images are the new build and deployment artifacts that are used to ship and run software. While startups have long been comfortable experimenting with and embracing new technologies, even large enterprises are now re-architecting their software systems so that they can benefit from container-enabled micro services architectures. With the launch of DC/OS, w...
May. 26, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,377
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 26, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,110
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 26, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,616
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
May. 26, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,496
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
May. 26, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,290
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...
May. 26, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,931
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 26, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,983
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 26, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,080
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 26, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,842
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 26, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,912
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 26, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,140
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
May. 26, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,331
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
May. 26, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,446
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 26, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,899
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
May. 25, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,550
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, will discuss how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He will discuss how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors...
May. 25, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,789
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 25, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,862
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 25, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,901