SOA Symposium 2009 Revisited

Right. So far for making plans. After having visited enough conferences, I had to know that plans may still change just before the sessions start. Kind of like agile development I could have postponed some decisions to a later moment. For some stuff the YAGNI acronym counts.

For starters, this edition was much better organized than the 2008 edition. Better sessions, better food, better facilities (Amsterdam Arena as soccer stadium is still questionable, but as a conference facility it really sucks, liked Rotterdam WTC much more).

Some specific highlights of the sessions I visited:

Stuart Boardman made a clear distinction between User Identity Context and Service Identity Context in his session about Identity in the Cloud. He also explained concepts like PEP, PDP and Claims Bases Access Control. Also native speaker so didn’t take extra effort to understand, did also participate in the debate on Agile development of SOA.

Clemens Utschig-Utschig brought some German friends who did not add anything viable to the session about Next Generation SOA. Gladly Clemens mentioned some clear solutions to problems like stale data and shaping data into events (EDA) and he endorsed my impression that he is a passionate presenter.

In “an in depth session on Service Oriented Modeling and Architecture” the depth was a bit disappointing. Ali Arsanjani did a good presentation, however stayed too long at the global level of SOMA. I hoped to learn more about Service Identification but I wil surely take some time to take a peek at the SOMA, specificly the SOMA Agile Profile.

Wondering how you can do a SAP-project on time, on budget and a happy customer? Sander Hoogendoorn and Twan van de Broek presented their experience with doing a SAP project in a agile way using smart use cases and a development process which mixes Scrum and Smart. Nice session, however not within time. Let’s say that doing an agile SAP project is easier than doing an agile presentation.

Thoughtworks is known to have splendid architects and engineers that can present in a authentic and attractive style. Ian Robinson opted in his session for a new way to identify and prioritize services measured by added business value. Finally a PowerPoint without bullets and a nice story about the distinction between what and how using stories, capabilities, services and contracts.

After a good diner and a few beers with some of the EAD students, I had a good sleep (sleep late, hurray), breakfast and appeared reasonably fresh at the second day. I decided that I could use a wake-up call (actually not used to sleep late so I stated “reasonably” fresh) and visited Jim Webbers’ session being “not a REST talk”. Again a Thoughtworks representative with a loose style of presenting, I actually think Jim could succeed as a stand-up comedian as well, had a good laugh and learned a lot in little time. Good emphasis on high cohesion over loose coupling, the (not) need for an ESB, power of the web and French bridges.

The effect of the wake-up call disappeared when visiting John Davadoss’ talk about Software and Services. John talked about Monetization, Experience, Composition/Mashup, Federation and Delivery of Services, however his talk a bit looked like it was a Mashup of other peoples’ ideas. Nevertheless, I liked the example that illustrated that services – when concentrating on what instead of how – do not necessary have to be used in an equal way by different user profiles. A manager might have to use Outlook/Exchange/AD because of required audit tracing, a production worker might be better satisfied with Gmail or Live Mail.

Again a session by Ian Robinson illustrating the “power of the web” with a good old D&D game. Again no bullets, only images and codefragments that show the power of hypermedia. A bit disappointing was the fact that didn’t mention how to define your own contracts using user defined hypermedia, but he got save by Jim Webber in the late session on “Hypermedia, the confusing bit in REST”. Great humor, catchy example on Restbucks. Didn’t expect too see pictures of Hillary Clinton here, her name has a much positive association for me now after attending Jim’s talk.

Between the ‘Thoughtworks-talks’ I did visit a session on Building .NET Services for Collaboration and Composition from Herbjorn Wilhelmsen. First session that shows some actual code. So far for being positive: non-inspired and non-persuasive speaker and a non-cohesive presentation.

After all two great days with lots of new insight on software architecture, especially by the way Grady Booch performed a keynote session through SecondLife, really impressive (including the yawning caused by the difference in timezones :)). Let’s see whether the organization can uphold or improve the quality of this 2009 edition.

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