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Subject: Re: [opencsa-ms] Questions for InfoQ interview


My input as


Yours,  Mike.

Strategist - Emerging Technologies, SCA & SDO.
IBM Hursley Park, Mail Point 146, Winchester, SO21 2JN, Great Britain.
Phone & FAX: +44-1962-818014    Mobile: +44-7802-467431  
Email:  mike_edwards@uk.ibm.com

Mark Little <mlittle@redhat.com>

03/09/2007 12:01

[opencsa-ms] Questions for InfoQ interview

Here are the questions for the InfoQ interview. Please feel free to answer any and all. If you do answer any question, please put your full name and position within your company and role within SCA/OpenCSA at the start of any reply: that way I can link the information into the finished article. Please send answers to me directly and then I'll follow up on a one-on-one basis if necessary.



Q: Why do you think it has taken so long for SCA to get to a standards body?

<mje>I don't think that SCA has taken long to get to a standards body.  SCA started from scratch to address problems
and opportunities in the SOA space.  It was evolved by a group of collaborators and this involved not only creation
of the specifications but also implementations in parallel to check the specifications and provide useful feedback.
Only once the specifications were mature and we had the confidence that the specifications were pretty solid did it
make sense to move forward to a standards body.  That time is now.</mje>

Q: Why OASIS and not W3C?

<mje>The choice of a standards body to use for any specification is not a straightforward one.  However, SCA is
primarily about a programming model, rather than on-the-wire protocols, and we felt that OASIS has a good track
record in this area - for example the WS-BPEL specification - and that OASIS also offered a structure well suited
to the parallel group of technical committees that SCA needs.</mje>

Q: Why is SCA-J not being worked on within the JCP?

<mje>SCA as a whole is not a Java specification - it is an SOA specification spanning many techologies both Java
and non-Java.  It did not seem to make much sense to split away the SCA Java specifications from the other SCA
specifications, making liaison between the Java group and the other groups more difficult.  It also keeps all the
SCA specifications available under one, easy to understand license.</mje>

Q: If you had to summarize what SCA brings to this space in two sentences, what would they be?

<mje>A language for describing composite services applications.  A simple approach to the construction of service
components, concentrating on business function and keeping infrastructure concerns well separated.</mje>

Q: Why is your company interested in SCA?

<mje>We believe that SCA is an important building block in the use of SOA to build business applications.  It will
make SOA more consumable and it will create a common pool of skills that companies can draw on to build
their systems.</mje>

Q: Do you see any overlap between SCA and JBI?

<mje>In a word, no.  SCA is primarily concerned with building end-user applications using a very wide range of
technologies.  JBI is more concerned with building the infrastructure for heterogeneous service applications on
the Java platform.  SCA can be used on a JBI runtime, but it is also possible to use SCA without JBI and JBI
without SCA.</mje>

Q: Is there an equivalent of SCA within Microsoft's arsenal of SOA technologies?

<mje>Windows Communication Framework (WCF) has some of the features of the SCA service component model,
but there is no real equivalent of the SCA assembly model for the composition of applications.</mje>

Q: How do you see SCA evolving now it is in a standards process? Will it change much, or do you think it is close to being complete as it is?

<mje>Our expectation is that SCA will not change a great deal from the current 1.0 specifications.  The major task of the
OASIS technical committees is to create detailed conformance statements and associated test suites that will help assure
portability and interoperability between conforming implementations of SCA from different suppliers.  That is going to
be something of real value to end-users.</mje>

Q: One of the objections to SCA that was leveled early on was that it competed against JEE. Now that Sun are involved it would see that any such comments were unfounded. Is that correct?

<mje>It is perfectly possible to use JEE components and applications within an overall application composed using SCA,
where other technologies are also used.  SCA even has a specification for doing this.   So I'd say that SCA works with JEE
rather than competing.  SCA does acknowledge that there is more in a typical business environment than JEE - that is very
much part of the world of SOA.</mje>

Q: Are there other areas of SCA that have not yet reached a level of maturity for donation to OASIS? If so, can you give us an idea of what they might be?

<mje>The Open SOA collaboration is continuing to discuss aspects of SCA that have not reached maturity.  Some will directly
be part of the OASIS technical committee discussions.   Examples include a Pub/Sub and Eventing model for the Assembly
specification.  Others, such as the relationship of SCA to management facilities and SCA specifications for some Scripting languages
are at a much earlier stage of discussions and will evolve initially outside OASIS until they are suitably mature.</mje>

Q: Is you company an SCA developer, user, or both?

<mje>Both.  IBM builds products that provide SCA, but IBM also has a services arm that builds solutions using SOA
for our customers.</mje>

Q: Where do you see SCA fitting within your company's SOA strategy?

<mje>It is an important aspect of the core products that support building SOA applications.</mje>

Q: Why isn't Microsoft involved? Since SCA is supposed to be language agnostic and embraces many of the WS-* technologies that Microsoft has been involved with, it would seem that their support would be necessary to make this a meaningful standard?

<mje>Microsoft are free to join the OASIS SCA activities at any time and we would welcome them.  SCA is a meaningful standard without Microsoft's involvement and SCA is able
to support implementations on the Microsoft platforms, even if not  supplied by Microsoft.</mje>

Q: What is your role within the various OpenCSA technical committees?

<mje>Is this meant to be a personal question or a company question????...</mje>

Q: Do you see SCA collaborating or influencing other standards activities elsewhere?

<mje>Yes.  There are a variety of other standards which relate to SCA.  Some of those will influence SCA,
others SCA may influence.  An example are the standards involved in management of systems, since when
an SCA application is managed. it will be most useful for the management interfaces to reflect the SCA
strucuture of the applications.</mje>

Q: The OpenCSA Plenary week is coming soon. What do you hope will be the output from that series of meetings?

<mje>The Open CSA plenary week will see the launch of the 6 SCA technical committees.  The output of the week will set
the pattern of the work on SCA for the next year or so.  In addition, for those folk new to SCA, the plenary week will offer the
opportunity for some great free education on SCA from experts who have been involved from the start.</mje>


Mark Little

JBoss, a Division of Red Hat
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