Steve Benfield

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Top Stories by Steve Benfield

Web services has promised many things. One primary promise has been the ability to piece applications together by snapping Web services together like so many Lego blocks. The output of one service becomes the input to the next and so on. In 2001, IBM published a specification called WSFL 1.0: Web Services Flow Language. WSFL is a language used to define business processes using Web services. By implementing WSFL, you can create process definitions that can be used by any WSFL-based business process engine. In addition, any process defined in WSFL can, itself, become a Web service, allowing composition of more and more complex and coarse-grained processes. My company worked directly with IBM to interpret and implement their specification; this article describes WSFL at a high level and concludes with some thoughts on WSFL and its future. Why Business Process Modelin... (more)

Java at a Crossroads

Java and J2EE are at a crossroads - facing issues such as complexity and vendor lock-in. Where can you turn for the the productivity, performance, and ROI you've come to expect? Having entered the mainstream and taken hold in roughly 70% of enterprises, Java is the clear winner when it comes to enterprise server architecture. As a unifying force for middleware API standardization and an aggregator of competition against Microsoft, it has also been a spectacular success. Today Java faces several major issues, either real or perceived. Complexity: Java is perceived by most people t... (more)

JSF: The Ultimate in Flexibility? Or Complexity?

I have a love/hate relationship with J2EE. I love the idea of standards that we can all use in our development to improve interoperability, ease integration issues, create a pool of skilled developers, etc. I hate the idea that I have to wait years for the standards to evolve and become usable. And I hate having specs that seem to work well in theory but have no practical implementation behind them. This brings me to the JSF specification. How long have we heard about JSF (JavaServer Faces) and how it will make it easier to build Web pages? Why did it take more than two and a half... (more)

Development Tools for All

Read JDJ's 2004 Predictions by i-Technology Leaders Feature Story Read The End of Middleware by Jonathan Schwartz Read Offshore Outsourcing by Jack Martin My dad is a DBA. However, he doesn't design large databases, he doesn't write extremely elaborate multiselect SQLs (I don't think he's ever read a Joe Celko book), and he certainly doesn't care about the latest, greatest news in the world of technology. He's been at the same place for about 15 years , is respected by his co-workers, and makes sure that the rest of his organization gets the information necessary to get their job... (more)

Web Services: XML's Killer App

My hype meter has been revved up lately, and what has pegged it is Web services. Who is hyping up Web services? Hmm...Microsoft, Sun, IBM, HP, BEA, SilverStream, Ariba, BowStreet, webMethods...my aunt Judy. I'm expecting to see this e-mail soon: "Quit your job and make $100,000 a year writing Web services in this groundbreaking business opportunity." Oh...that one might be true . Okay, so what's behind all this hype? Is all this real? My take: absolutely real - or at least it will be very soon. This is my fourth "sea change" in software development. I can recognize a good thin... (more)