Building Your First Business Process

Scott Woodgate over at MSDN TV demos “how easy it is to build a business process using Visual Studio .NET and BizTalk Server 2004, expose that business process as a Web service, and then consume the business process inside InfoPath – all within 20 minutes.”

After spending a week learning how to do something similar with the Integration Tools found in PeopleSoft 8.44 I can honestly say that VS.Net + BizTalk Server 2004 is wicked cool.

Although, keep in mind, Scott’s presentation is a typical slick product demo and there’s plenty going on with his process. So in reality, your mileage may vary.

Thanks for link Martin!

Gmail in the Enterprise

I’ve been disconnected all week in PeopleSoft training, but during lunch today I caught Steve Gillmor’s eWeek column from last week about Gmail where he cites a potential example of the “Google Platform” in the enterprise.

“By the time the Gmail beta period ends in three to six months, Brin and his team have promised to enable forwarding and POP3 access. However, more is required of a corporate mail service. Those capabilities must be extended to allow Gmail to provide disconnected operation and IDE for packaged applications.”

Thanks to a Gmail invite via friend Jason Fischel of CNET (who needs a blog!), I can honestly say that there’s merit in what Steve is suggesting. Gmail would certainly be practical in the enterprise. Google already has market penetration in the enterprise with their Search Appliance. However Gmail enterprise customers wouldn’t necessarily be the same as. So the fit isn’t seamless.

I’ll spare you the obligatory review/rant and simply say that I’m impressed with Gmail — mostly with the UE subtleties (e.g. archiving versus deleting and the seamless conversation threading).

However, in the meantime, I’d be content merely with RSS feeds from any Gmail thread, filter or label.

How long before we start seeing the O’Reilly Gmail Hacks books? ;-)

Frontier goes Open Source (soon)

After dabbling with Frontier over the last five years, I often miss the outlining features of Frontier’s built-in IDE when working in other environments. I’m intrigued however with
Dave Winer’s latest announcement regarding the eminent release of the Frontier kernel as OSS.

It will be interesting to see what OSS license UserLand chooses and if they intend on releasing any of the non-kernelized code such as part of the CMS framework, Manila and/or Radio.

Ultimately however, I’m happy to hear that Frontier’s development opportunities will continue. Perhaps it will evolve into an IDE framework like Eclipse.

Google Groups Beta 2

Google opened beta 2 of Google Groups. They’ve integrated it with Gmail, which gives you the ability to post to Usenet newsgroups as well as create new groups.

All these “new” features are strangely reminiscent of what
My Deja News offered back in 1998…

Hey wait a second! Google purchased Deja back in 2001. What took them so long to integrate services?

I’m not sure, but there is progress however…

For example, you can now get an Atom Feed of your favorite newsgroups.

Although I can do this with NewsGator too.

Open Source Search Results Clustering Framework

My smart search buddies over at BA-Insight (who need to get their blog online!) pointed me to Carrot2, which is described as “ a system for clustering textual data“. (the site is a bit slow)

Generally speaking, Carrot2 is an Open Source alternative to Vivisimo. (Nice!)

Carrot2 has some other interesting features too. Like for example, it can be used as a meta-search component. In addition, it can be integrated with full-featured text search engines such as the Open Source Egothor and some other lesser known engines.

Overall I’m impresses with the various clustering algorithms you can select to display your results. Performance however seems to be lagging, but I’m sure that can be worked out.

IBM’s Web-Based Desktop Apps

Based on a news.com story and /. thread, it seems like we’re “gonna party like it’s 1999” Again! (remember myWebOS)

However this time IBM may possibly be able to pull this off. I don’t think IBM’s effort will significantly deplete MSFT’s 90% market share of the desktop software market, but perhaps they will carve out enough to make it a viable and cheaper alternative.

From the news.com story: “The new software, part of IBM’s Lotus Workplace strategy, is a bundle that includes e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and database applications aimed at business users. The package also includes server-based management software, as well as software to run productivity applications on handheld devices.”

“IBM has also rounded up support from other software makers, including Adobe, PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems, which are considering making their Web-based business applications available through the new IBM client management software.”

“Mills downplayed the competitive angle with Microsoft. The announcement is “not about beating Microsoft. There is no business strategy of any merit predicated on beating competitors. It’s about how customers can save money,” he said.”

I liked the idea back in 1999 and I still think the model deserves merit — especially in conjunction with the latest chater regarding The Google Platform.

Command Line Frontend to MovableType

I must have missed this, but back in December 2003, Johann Schmidt released the latest version of MTshell, which as the subject says is a CLI for MovableType.

MTshell is a perl program which allows you to maintain your Movable Type blog from a command line prompt. If you’re a Linux/Unix user and run an instance of Movable Type on a server which you have shell access to you’ll probably be interested.”

I like it!

Adobe Designer 6.0 preview

As expected, Adobe has come back at MSFT’s InfoPath with the preview release of Adobe Designer 6.0

Jon Udell of course is spot on with a review in his blog of Designer, which can also be found in this weeks print edition of Info World:

From Jon: “Despite evident weaknesses, the Designer/Reader duo offers two key strengths: digital-paper fidelity, and a ubiquitous runtime. Using the free Reader, I was able to fill out a Designer-built form, print a high-fidelity copy for my records, and post its XML data to a Web server. No matter how the future of e-forms unfolds, that’s going to be a popular scenario.”

Apparently the beta period has expired, but you can still get to the beta sign-up page via Google.

Boot. Play! Retro-style

Give that old PC a new life by turning it into a retro gaming console with the KnoppiXMAME Live CD Linux Distro.

KnoppiXMAME is a bootable CD/DVD image with hardware automatic probing and configuration for playing MAME games. No games are included, but they can be added to the ISO image, as well as new versions of X-MAME, gxmame, and the Linux kernel”

Of course you’ll need to legally obtain a few MAME ROMs, but you knew that anyway ;-)