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SOA from the trenches

Copyright: Michael Parsons

A Simple API over the Web

Wed, 21 Mar 2007 19:00:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

Alex Iskold posted a great article here

Which made me think of another blog entry that I read here by Ismael Ghalimi

 ... and after looking thru the various comments got me thinking about what it would take to provide a SIMPLE API over the Web. 4 Hours later, it came up with


and this


The first provides an XML API over standard Web Sites and the second a JSON API.  So to consume, say as an XML data source, all you have to do is

and presto, you get an XML stream of the web page. Need it in JSON format ...

But wait ... I don't want the entire contents of the web page, I just want the links ... no problem ...


Note the ~//a  tacked onto the end of the url? This provides an XPATH query capability over the XML Data Stream.

But I really don't want all the links, I just want the ones that apply to the Digg items ... no problem

or how about just the title

or how about the Google search results for your name

This refines the XPATH Query to a specific set of nodes. I'll not go into all the variations of XPATH syntax ... you can Google XPATH for that.

I guess what this all demonstrates is that we tend to look for complex solutions sometimes when all we need is a simpler (dare I say Web 2.0) approach.

All this took about 4 hours to create and while it's not as sophisticated as some of the other tools/technologies mentioned ... it sure is simpler and maybe, just maybe "good enough".

Now ... no doubt this site will get hammered and I'll lose my ISP privileges on this beta site so ...

Sponsors ... please step up :-)


Huge jump in SaaS adoption plans | Software as services |

Thu, 09 Nov 2006 18:46:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

Good Article ...

Abhijit Dubey of McKinsey revealed that a new survey by his organization has found that the proportion of CIOs considering adopting SaaS applications in the coming year has gone from 38% a year ago to 61% now. "That's a huge jump," he said, and he's not kidding. It's an indication of a sea-change in acceptance of SaaS over the past year.

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FW: VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace

Thu, 09 Nov 2006 18:20:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

Post from

VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace
At the same time that Microsoft is releasing virtual machines for download for evaluation purposes VMware has launched the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace. The purpose of this market place is to download virtual machines to evaluate specific software, these virtual machines are completely configured for you so that you can immediatly start playing around with the product. A nice addition is that you can also download several clean Linux distro's. Take a look at the marketplace here. If you are still not convinced that virtualization is the future you can still change careers [:P]
Cross-posted from The .NET Aficionado(image)


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JavaScript Performance: Fast DOM Iterator

Thu, 02 Mar 2006 09:13:00 GMT

Originally posted on: numerous tests, this function provides the most performant way to iterate over all the elements in the DOM: function walkTheDom() {       var items = document.getElementsByTagName("*");       var i=items.length;       var item;       do       {         item = items[i];         //Do something with item       }       while (--i); }   [...]

Cool Yahoo JavaScript Library

Sun, 19 Feb 2006 12:48:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

Yahoo! UI Library
The Yahoo! User Interface Library is a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using ...

Thinking outside the box

Thu, 05 Feb 2004 11:24:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

This thread ( over at Rory's blog reminds me of a story ...

This reminds me of a situation I found myself in while working at a well-know software vendor. We had just acquired another company and I was on the transition team. One of the most critical tasks was to migrate over all of the acquired company's CRM data into our system. Several weeks went by and this task was still outstanding. We has a meeting with the group of programmers working on doing the data migration. They said that the task would take at least another 2 weeks because of the complexity involved in remapping the data and applying the business logic so that it could be imported into our system. They had already written thousands of lines of C++ and SQL code to accomplish this task. The VP (a sales guy) in charge of the transition team was livid ... he just could not understand why this task was taking so long. The programmers (a team of 5 people) basically told him he didn't know what he was talking about and said that this was a complex undertaking. The dicussion got somewhat heated and the VP asked the rest of the transition team if there were any alternatives to the current approach.

I piped up and told him there was and if he gave me the databases he needed migrated, then I would have the data in our system the next day. The programmers burst out laughing and basically called me an idiot since I had no prior internal knowledge of either system. At this point, the VP was under the gun to get this thing completed so he told me to go ahead and make it happen ... so I did and by the time he got in the next morning all the data was imported into our system. We had our daily meeting and everyone was delighted except the five programmers. The VP asked how I accomplished this task in so little time.

I told him I installed our CRM client on 5 computers, created some Microsoft Test Scripts and pumped the data through the UI so that it could be validated and saved properly ... simple but effective. Everyone was thanking me for a job well done except the five programmers ... they basically accused me of cheating and said that any dumb idiot could have taken this approach. Not once did they accept that my solution was the best one.

Anyway .. to make a long story short, guess who got the bigger raise that year :-) 



Cool SOA UI Stuff

Fri, 30 Jan 2004 11:11:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

DreamFactory Software accelerates the rapid construction of rich client user interfaces for enterprise web applications powered by XML documents and web services. This standards-based approach streamlines design, enhances user experience, reduces network traffic, and dramatically lowers development costs. Companies such as and Grand Central Communications use DreamFactory to build dynamic browser-based environments that enable their end users to create custom applications with web services.



New Build of ShadowFax

Fri, 30 Jan 2004 10:46:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

A new build of ShadowFax is out : Build 1.23.2004 (via Christian Weyer)

For information, ShadowFax is an SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) reference application by the Patterns and Practices (PAG) at Microsoft.


Microsoft in Stealth Mode?

Fri, 23 Jan 2004 11:33:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

Via Microsoft Monitor ...

Microsoft Business Solutions saw year-over-year growth of 41 percent to $190 million. Microsoft attributed much of the growth to licensing sales of Navision and Business Contact Manager. BCM is a client-relationship management add-on to Outlook that ships with three of the six Office 2003 versions. I would consider BCM a direct competitor to ACT! and Goldmine, so over-time sales could be significant. Early BCM success could merely be tied to strong out-of-the-gate Office 2003 sales. If Microsoft can sustain sales, BCM could prove a low-end CRM replacement, the way Outlook eventually drove a large number of desktop contact managers out of the market.

Anybody else recognize this pattern?

Microsoft starts to commoditize certain application functionality (i.e. CRM), enters market at low end and BOOM, next thing you know, they own the market. If I were Seibel, SalesForce.Com, etc, I would be worried. 


Code Sample - Voice Activated Alerts

Thu, 22 Jan 2004 17:55:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

The purpose of this application is to create a simple Notification application (ala Instant Messenger). Upon receiving an alert, the application will display some "toast" in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop. The alert will display a message and will execute an action when clicked on.

Comments/Feedback Welcome.