ZapThinkTank 2003: Web Services and SOA Implementation Roadmap
Financial services and insurance firms today are struggling with the best way to implement IT infrastructures that enable business agility. Service-oriented architectures based on Web Services provide cost-effective approaches to achieving companies’ agility goals. This session provides companies of all sizes and industries an approach to implementing Service-oriented architectures in a way that provides return-on-investment (ROI) at each step along the path toward agile IT infrastructures. We will discuss the steps and phases by which these companies can move from today’s brittle infrastructures to loosely-coupled, coarse-grained, asynchronous SOAs. The session covers concepts in point-to-point Web Services implementations for integration, securing, managing, and adding process layers to these services, implementing registries and management for loose coupling, moving to asynchronous invocations for greater reliability, and concepts in virtualization, grid computing, and more. We’ll provide the big picture for SOA adoption as well as the details on how to actually go about…

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Whatever Happened to XML Schemas?
Early in the growth of XML as a data format, even before the widespread adoption of Web Services, one of the most popular and heated debates was on how best to represent the structure and syntax of data in an XML document. Commonly known as XML schemas, a wide range of proposals emerged for how to best indicate which elements were required in an XML document, as well as the nature, repetition, and hierarchy of those elements. The goal of these formats was simple: provide an easy way of defining the requirements of an XML document, and then validating those documents against those requirements so that two unrelated parties can reliably exchange and process XML documents. Most of the XML schema proposals hinged on the general assessment that the traditional way of detailing schema, the Document Type Definition (DTD), was too arcane, limiting, and cumbersome to use. After much…

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XML and Web Services in Vertical Industries
A wide array of vertical industries are increasingly using XML to support communications among and within businesses. However, XML itself is just the foundational technology for enabling system-independent representation of information. What are the specific vocabularies that particular vertical industries are using, and how is XML providing a significant value proposition for companies and industries looking to standardize their interactions? What are the important XML vocabularies for your vertical industry? What standards bodies or consortia in your industry are responsible for driving those vocabularies? What steps can you take today to leverage XML in your business? AGiLiENCE-122002-ZTZN-1130-1…

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Calling the Elusive Enterprise Architect: You’re More Important than Ever
Readers who have been following ZapThink for a while know we talk quite a bit about Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs). We talk about how in an SOA, the architecture provides a layer of abstraction that hides the complexity of the underlying technology implementation, while providing location-independent, business-oriented Services. We also talk about how line-of-business users can then orchestrate those Services into Service-oriented business processes. And when you really get us going, we speak about the practice of SOA — what it means for SOA to be enterprise architecture. The mention of the practice of SOA brings us to the topic of this ZapFlash — the architect. It is difficult to pin-down the exact role of the architect for several reasons, including a widespread lack of understanding in enterprises today as to what IT architecture really is, as well as the flexible, unique job descriptions architects typically find themselves with. Nevertheless, for…

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Web Services are for Small Businesses, Too
ZapThink frequently talks about how Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) provide significant benefits to enterprises by virtue of their ability to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of integration and enable business agility. It is apparent that companies in many industries are realizing the promise of Web Services by implementing a variety of Web Services projects. However, much of the short-term promise of Web Services applies to companies where the integration cost and complexity is high because their IT infrastructure is heterogeneous — that is, consisting of a wide range of disparate technologies that are difficult to interoperate. Certainly, a heterogeneous IT environment is the norm in companies of any significant size, but the smaller a company gets, the more homogeneous its IT infrastructure becomes. And so, what do Web Services and SOAs offer the small or medium-sized company that has, until now, simplified its IT universe by standardizing…

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ZapThink Recognizes Forward-Thinking Vendors as "ZapThought Leaders" of XML, Web Services, and Service Orientation
ZapThink Recognizes Forward-Thinking Vendors as “ZapThought Leaders” of XML, Web Services, and Service Orientation ZapThought Leadership program headlines major expansion of ZapThink’s services WALTHAM, MA, September 2, 2003 — Actional Corporation, Ascential Software (NASDAQ: ASCL), Digital Evolution, Flamenco Networks, Infravio, Netegrity (NASDAQ: NETE), Raining Data (NASDAQ: RDTA), Reactivity, Sonic Software, Swingtide, and Westbridge Technology are among the software vendors recognized as “ZapThought Leaders” by ZapThink LLC, the leading industry analyst firm with research focused on XML, Web Services, and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs). “To be recognized as a ZapThought Leader, a vendor must be dedicated to helping their customers understand how to use XML, Web Services and SOAs to meet their business needs,” said Jason Bloomberg, Senior Analyst, ZapThink. “We are pleased to recognize so many outstanding vendors as ZapThought Leaders, ” said Ron Schmelzer, Senior Analyst, ZapThink. “The fact that these vendors are committed to helping their…

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What is the Shape of a Service-Oriented Architecture?
Being in the analyst business, we at ZapThink see an awful lot of PowerPoint presentations. And it seems that every presentation has the one attractively drawn diagram that purports to illustrate how that vendor’s product fits into their customers’ IT environments. Such diagrams, however, rarely have any technical detail since they are not intended for consumption by developers or architects. Rather, they are typically created by marketing people to communicate to analysts, prospective customers, investors, and the press. Yes, I’m talking about marketecture. Now, marketecture (“marketing” plus “architecture,” in case you haven’t figured that out yet) serves an important purpose. We’re talking about fairly complex concepts such as distributed computing architectures, and no matter how you cut it, such architectures have a lot of different pieces that talk to each other in numerous different ways. Every vendor must come up with effective approaches for simplifying their message so that…

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ZapThink: Report Shows Web Services-based Process to Displace Integration Solutions / Implementing Service-Oriented Process Key to Meeting Business Agility Requirements
ZapThink: Report Shows Web Services-based Process to Displace Integration Solutions Implementing Service-Oriented Process Key to Meeting Business Agility Requirements (View More Information…) WALTHAM, MA, April 16, 2003 — As enterprises apply Service-oriented architecture principles to business process management and automation, they will find that such “Service-Oriented Process” solutions will supplant the need for today’s integration solutions, concludes a report published today by ZapThink, LLC, an analyst firm focused on XML, Web Services, and Service-oriented architectures. The report concludes that Service-oriented process tools enable business users to assemble business-oriented Web Services into business processes that are themselves exposed as Web Services. “The success of business depends upon IT systems that are able to deliver functionality that meets business requirements in a flexible, agile way,” explains Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink, “Yet most corporate IT infrastructures are littered with a heterogeneous array of…

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