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Kit Plummer
Software Engineer :: Techitect :: Evangelist
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About the summer of ‘06 I began to realize the need for my company to adopt Open principles within its walls. It is a big company, with distinctly different business units, and target objectives. The key problem is duplicate effort. I won’t go into the problems of contractual work (but a quick read of this post) will enlighten a bit. Anyway…a particular project was building out from a handful of Open (Apache) projects. It made perfectly good sense to me, that all work that was done, should be shared across the company. So, with a lot of “pitching” I convince some leadership to fund the effort as an internally-Open project. I’ve shown great success. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to play in the Open Standards world to help drive some feature/capability needs we have.

Getting my employer to understand this need has been troublesome. Part of the problem is that there are a few parallel/similar projects that are working towards proprietary solutions, including patents – in which my employer believes an income source may exist. [They couldn’t be more wrong, and are quickly learning just how wrong.] But, I’ve recently received some funding to participate in the JBI 2.0 specification community. Hopefully, the application will go through soon.

From the time I decided I should be in the JBI Expert Group I began to realize some of the issues that lie ahead. The slow awakening of SCA – and the impending riff between the two camps (SCA and JBI) began to worry me a bit. What worries me even more is the ignorance that is spreading FUD amongst the general technology community. Just this last week we had some “sales” folks in from one of the SCA-camp leaders in. As soon as I brought up that we were interested in JBI – I got the full BS-line from one of the “sales engineers”. The only thing who could really come up with was the SCA language independence bit…and that they believe there’s more to life than Java. As soon as I mentioned that SCA runtimes were all Java – he shut up. But, it is this blatant disregard for logic that retards the true potential for SCA and JBI.

After a few discussions with different folks (from the user’s perspective) it has become clear to me that there is/will be a need to provide SCA deployment capabilities from a JBI-based implementation. The division should be that SCA is a developer’s spec, and JBI is an integrator’s spec. There are many posts out there discussing the complementary nature – but, it just doesn’t seem to be making it to any implementation. So, a colleague of mine has recently spun up a “grassroots” effort to look at this SCA on/in JBI problem.

It is unfortunate that IBM and BEA are so unwilling to accept a spec that they’ve been “dissin’” forever – and, thinking that theirs is the right way. If you can arrive at the understand that SCA and JBI are indeed complementary, then why can’t we all just get along? I’ve left out many details in this story – to both protect the innocent, but also to avoid a “details” flame war. Yes, there are things that both SCA and JBI do. But, I think the fact that SCA lacks an integration mindset and that JBI lacks language independence – promotes a future collaboration, if nothing else. Never mind the other specifications and messaging technologies (ala CORBA). FWIW, we also need to get past the notion of an ESB, unless we can really fulfill the Enterprise bit.

So. Put the (SCA/JBI) politics aside. Rationalize service interfaces and heterogeneous deployment environments. The business/fiduciary ROI will follow. And, dead-weight companies will fall off the landscape.

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