Monday, January 28, 2008

My first Sogeti Kickoff: a great experience

Last week, more than 400 people of Sogeti group were meeting at Les Fontaines, for the annual KickOff. It was for me the first big event since I have joined this company last October.

Les Fontaines
Les Fontaines, is the training/conference center of the Cap Gemini Group located 30mn from Paris. I have to say that it is really a great place. Click on the Les Fontaines to see  what I mean...
First of all it was a great experience to meet my colleagues from all over the world , Sogeti is a company of  16,000+ people, all over Europe, in the USA and India.  The main theme of this 2008 Kickoff was "Web 2.0", the reason why I was invited indeed. If most of the technical people are using internally and externally Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, ims, .. It was important to have during this kickoff an "overall" brainstorming about the use of this tools for the group, but also how we can leverage of knowledge to help customers to be more efficient in their business.
As part of this theme our marketing folks have invited external speakers:
  • Rolf Jensen : talking about the Dream Society, explaining that the next step for business is to add an emotional aspect into it, to add value...  I am a emotional person, and I can tell that I am buying Rolf's idea, and like most of Apple fan you can tell how important are the emotions to do business...
  • Rod Bekstrom, co-author of the well known book "The Starfish and The Spider" focusing on the fact an company must shift  from a centralized organization to a decentralized one. You can listen to the presentation online on Rod's site.. I have to say that I soon as I have finished my current readings (RestFul Web Services-O'Reillys & Get Things Done) I will order this book. I really found some inspiration in Rod presentation, and his ideas could be immediately put in place in your organization or at your customer site.
  • Last but not least, Nick Donofrio, EVP Technology and Innovation, talked about the important of innovation for the enterprise, and how we do not control the changes but we should adapt to it in a productive manner to stay at the top. 
However, I would have loved to see Francois Nonnemacher on the stage too since I had the opportunity to see him talking about Web 2.0/Social Computing for the enterprise and he is terrific... and also because as far as I know he has worked at Cap Gemini few years back
I really enjoyed all these presentations, in addition to the one that I have cited, we had many Sogeti's speakers including Sogeti CTO Michiel Boreel.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

IBM ProjectZero: A new development model for commercial software?

You have probably heard about IBM ProjectZero, this "incubator"project from IBM pushing a new way of building, assemble and run Web applications. I won't talk about the technology in this post, it will come later, but just comment about the way this project is developped: a Community-Driven Commercial Development process.

The idea behind this "process" is to apply to a commercial software, ideas that are common  in free software. As you see I am not talking about "open source" since Project Zero is open source, it is really about the way a "commercial" software is built...
If you take a look to the "About" page of ProjectZero you can learn more about this process/ideas. Some key points:
  • the development team, mainly IBM folks, want  feedback, insight, suggestions, and criticism from the community. So we as the community can really be involved in the product in a stage where it is usually inside IBM labs without any visibility for non IBM employee... This is quite exciting to see that we can really discuss with the development team as they do the product, and we can see the product evolving based on "real" customer requirements/comments.
  • so as "future" user of the production release I can discuss the features. As a developer of the "current" development release I can participate to the future product.
So what you may be tempted to say, especially if you are a lot involved in open source and free projects, but you have to admit that it is quite a switch for commercial product.Project Zero is not the only project that is using this approach Jazz from the rational team is also on this model. 
In the same time if we consider, GlassFish, we do have more or less an equivalent, that is the JavaEE RI and the Sun Application Server... but here on Jazz or Project zero it is really happening on a brand new product that is not a reference implementation but new products part of a commercial R&D lab...
I am still a little confused to see what will be the license when release 1.0 goes out... Just wait and see.. hmm sorry I should say "just participate and see".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Poll: Which "Web 2.0" Tools are you using for business?

I have just created a poll -see leftbar- asking to list the different tools you are using for business. In fact I would like to have some feedback of you use of Wiki, Blogs, Instant Messaging on you daily job.

Myself I am using all of this for work:
  • Internal and external communication with Wikis
  • My blog that you are currently reading
  • Chat, I use probably more the chat than phone these days (thanks to when I cannot connect with a rich client)
  • Social Networking: I am not necessarily talking about big sites like LinkedIn/Facebook but more internal sites. For example, back at Oracle we had access to an internal Social Network site, that is now exposed at, and now at Sogeti, in the Cap Gemini group we do also have internal social networks.
The idea behind this post/poll is to be able to discuss, with customers around Web 2.0 tools adoption in the enterprise. So do not hesitate to post a comment describing the tools and how you are using them for business. Thanks for your vote ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Infoq news: "Request: Sun, Drop Support for JRuby"

With the latest big news around Oracle-BEA and SUN-MySQL deals I have missed an interesting article on Infoq with the following title:
- Request: Sun, Drop Support for JRuby
I have to say that I do agree with Craig Wickesser asking Sun to Drop Support for JRuby.

Syntax Matters?
Yes syntax matters, not only for the "beauty" of it, but also because of the investment that enterprises have made into it. We should not force people to completely remodel their brain all the time, for no gain. 

I love Groovy language, and one of the main reason is because it gives me the most bang for my buck. Java people can immediately catchup with the syntax, and step by step leverage powerful features available by dynamic languages and domain specific languages. I was hoping to see a great adoption by SUN... It is one thing to support scripting with the JSR-223, but SUN has to "endorse" a scripting, and from what could be seen today it is not Groovy nor Javascript. When we see all the marketing noise it is Ruby with JRuby... And I do not think that is necessary good for the Java platform. 

Do not get me wrong, I think that is a great idea, and need for Java to be able to execute many languages, for example we see a lot of IBM WAS and BEA WL administrator using Python to administer their application server instance with Jython. But once again the "default" one should be close to Java and integrate with it as close as possible to reduce the impact on scalability and performances, and I do think that Groovy did a great job on these topics.

What about RubyOnRails?
I am not a RoR expert, far far away from it, but I have learned it, and developed small applications with it, and I have to say that I love this framework.  And I am sure that like many Java developers that used RoR, I was thinking:  "If only I had the same productivity in my favorite platform: J2EE...".

I was not expecting to run RoR application as-it-is, but more hoping that JavaEE will learn from RoR to simplify development...  And... somebody did it, with Grails. Grails takes inspiration from RoR, but in a "real" JavaEE environment, since it leverages key pieces of the current Java applications such as Hibernate and Spring, using the power of Groovy to glue all this together.

In conclusion...
I do not know for you but yes I do think that SUN should drop support for JRuby, and in place push a language more natural for existing Java Developers, I vote for Groovy. In addition to the language itself, I also expect the JavaEE EG to provide a more productive way of developing "simple" Web applications. This is where I see Grails coming in the picture, but many other framework could do the job, taking advantage of some interesting concepts of RoR...

As Rick says, I (we?) am not looking for a Revolution but for an Evolution.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Which sites are you using for "business"? Another Web2.0 list...

Disclaimer: you do probably already know all these sites if you are like me spending lot of time on the Internet... (too much time?) But still, some people could be interested, like the customer I have been working with lately...

During a presentation to a customer around Web 2.0 and Social Networking, which sites do I use myself and why they could be interested for customer and their business.... So I really quickly write up this list, and just want to share it here...
Social networking... and many more. More and more important in business.
Multimedia site... I am sure you all use it daily. I have used this to share pics about events (internal or external).
http://del.icio.usSocial Bookmarking...
Social links, content is rated by user. Management tools, you need to look to all the 37signals applications. Very useful
Google services are terrific, as user or developer. http://wikidot.comPublic and free wiki that I used to communicate with customers, coworker and friends.
News and content syndication.
I use these site as consumer, but these services are more and more important in customer business, and will be part of our job as developer/integrator.

Hmm, when you see this list you can tell that I am a very happy Google user, and I have not talk about the other services that I use from Google: Gmail, GTalk, Analytics, Notebooks, and obviously the search...