Tuesday 13 November 2007

Microsoft BPM and SOA Conference

I will be presenting at the Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference 2007 tomorrow at the Reading TVP Campus.

18 months worth of development, prototyping and design of an SOA platform on which to build all of the company's travel related products leaves me with plenty of things to discuss. I hope that this will not overrun. I have a 25 minute slot in an hour long presentation to cover, at a high level, how Microsoft technologies have been used to deliver our products. Not easy ;-)

I understand that audio (and possibly video) recordings of this presentation will be published after the conference. I will post a link to these as soon as they are available.


What if there was no Microsoft? Building an online company for free.

Since my early days as a developer I have maintained that Microsoft have delivered the right balance of usability, availability and functionality as far as the developer toolsets and desktop Office applications are concerned.

Many of my friends and previous work colleagues are from the non-Microsoft camp. Java, Unix (in it's various flavours) and non Microsoft database technologies are all heralded as "better" technologies than Microsoft by these users. Performance, scalability and security tend to be the main areas of contention. Evidence supporting the claims that the Microsoft technology is not as good as the non-Microsoft alternative is often light on the ground - in my experience anyway. I am sure that there are metrics out in the public domain that will prove me wrong, but for every argument that I have heard there is always a counter argument supporting the Microsoft or alternative case.

Anyway, a few months ago I seriously damaged my knee in an off-road motocross Enduro event which left me on the sofa every night for hours balancing a bag peas on my elevated knee in order to reduce the swelling. Rather than watching TV during this time I decided to look into how I could create a virtual company http://www.lifeplugins.com/ in order to excercise everything that I have learned over the past 12 years or so. The reason for creating a company was to have an end deliverable - I beleive that this is the only way to truly understand the advantages and pitfalls of adopting a particular technology.

The pre-requisites for the company are are follows:-
  1. Create a branded web site with a domain name. The web site should do more than just host static content - anyone can do this. The site should include server side processing and a database as a minimum.
  2. Where possible, the only cost in setting up the company should be my time. All software used in creating lifeplugins.com should be freely available and preferably adopt the Open Source Initiative http://www.opensource.org/
  3. Follow the path of least resistence. This is just a reminder to myself to not "sweat the small stuff". This is a hobby project and shouldn't take over my life. If something can't be done simply then perhaps an alternative should be investigated.
  4. Have a purpose. The name lifeplugins isn't a mistake. This site and the associated "plugins" that are developed should assist me in my everyday life.
  5. Use non-Microsoft technologies. This is the only way, I beleive, to get a balanced view of what is out there given that I have used nothing but Microsoft technologies in the past.

This blog will, for the coming months at least, track the progress of the site and I plan to record my thoughts, ideas and findings on this blog as I grow the virtual company.