|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
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,386
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,501
[session] Cloud Adoption and Digital Transformation By @TIBCO | @CloudExpo #Cloud #DigitalTransformation
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 386
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,892
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Sep. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,232
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Sep. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,441
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Sep. 29, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,296
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Sep. 29, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,576
With emerging ideas, innovation, and talents, the lines between DevOps, release engineering, and even security are rapidly blurring. I invite you to sit down for a moment with Principle Consultant, J. Paul Reed, and listen to his take on what the intersection between these once individualized fields entails, and may even foreshadow.
Sep. 29, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,253
In case you haven’t heard, the new hotness in app architectures is serverless. Mainly restricted to cloud environments (Amazon Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions) the general concept is that you don’t have to worry about anything but the small snippets of code (functions) you write to do something when something happens. That’s an event-driven model, by the way, that should be very familiar to anyone who has taken advantage of a programmable proxy to do app or API routing ...
Sep. 29, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 521
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...
Sep. 29, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,806
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,167
Cloud Expo 2016 New York at the Javits Center New York was characterized by increased attendance and a new focus on operations. These were both encouraging signs for all involved in Cloud Computing and all that it touches. As Conference Chair, I work with the Cloud Expo team to structure three keynotes, numerous general sessions, and more than 150 breakout sessions along 10 tracks. Our job is to balance the state of enterprise IT today with the trends that will be commonplace tomorrow. Mobile...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,182
To leverage Continuous Delivery, enterprises must consider impacts that span functional silos, as well as applications that touch older, slower moving components. Managing the many dependencies can cause slowdowns. See how to achieve continuous delivery in the enterprise.
Sep. 29, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,146
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,711
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,283
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,422
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change req...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 806
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Sep. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,686
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Sep. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,762