Thursday, October 30, 2014

Websphere Technical University Düsseldorf 2014 - Part 2

I started day 2 of the WTU conference with a session from Michael Hamann about some of the new features in IBM Websphere Datapower (V7) concerning the Datapower Policy Framework and Service Patterns.
The Datapower policy framework is managed on Websphere Service Registry and Repository and enforced on Datapower. This setup isn’t new, but already exists since Datapower firmware version 5.0.0. What’s new since version 7 is the possibility to use variables in the policy-config, this feature is called dynamic policy variability.
Another new feature in V7 is Service Patterns, these are templates that you can create from existing services in a new GUI, the Blueprint Console.
I experienced myself that many of our customers already created their own scripts to work with some sort of templates for the common integration scenarios, so the use of service patterns will be great for them. They will have a supported way of working that brings more features than what they have right now.

Of course not all sessions that I attended involve my working terrain, but there were still some interesting things that caught my attention:
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(Photo: Twitter @bluemonki)
In the session about Cloud Integration by John Hosie, he mentioned ‘Chef’, which is a tool to automate the setup and maintenance of your infrastructure in the cloud. Check if you want to know more.
Of course something that came up in half of the sessions I attended is IBM’s answer to Platform as a Service (PaaS): Bluemix. One of the more impressive examples came from the same ‘Cloud Integration’ session. After syncing your local database with a cloud DB in Bluemix you can generate REST-API’s to retrieve the data you want to expose in just a few clicks.
Another hot topic on the conference was discussed by Bernard Kufluk and Bryan Boyd in their presentation about the Internet of Things (previously known as Smarter Planet). He gave us a glimpse of what the future might look like when all of our stuff is connected to the internet using the MQTT protocol. In contrast to most of the existing applications that nowadays use HTTP to send data to the server, MQTT makes it possible to send commands from the server to the client application (for example to stop a car remotely as shown in the demo). The appliance to take care of all this MQTT traffic is IBM MessageSight. My first impression is that this appliance is for bidirectional MQTT traffic what Datapower is for HTTP traffic.
The session about Blueworks Live from Roland Peisl presented another product that I likely won’t be working with in the near future, but nevertheless it was interesting to see how the product evolved since the last time I used it, back in the days when it was called Lombardi Blueprint. While obviously a lot has changed since then, the conclusion remains the same: it’s a great tool for the business to help them with process discovery sessions. If you’re looking for a tool that supports a full business process round-trip, you should rather use Business Process Manager.

Author: Tim

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Websphere Technical University Düsseldorf 2014 - First impressions

Impressions of the first day of the Websphere Technical University 2014 in Düsseldorf
The Websphere Technical University and Digital Experience conference is held in Düsseldorf from the 28th of october till the 31st. With over 16 rooms for each timeslot there is something to each person’s liking. My main interest for this conference is the integration track and even though this limits the immense choice of presentations, there are still some hard choices to be made.
For this first day I started the day with the general opening session. This featured a great demo that showed the power of Bluemix.
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(Photo: Twitter @reynoutvab)
In the afternoon the conference really started for me with a presentation about the trends and directions of the IBM Integration Bus. Speaker Jens Diedrichsen (@JensDiedrichsen) introduced us the new features that will be present in IIB V 10.0
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(Photo: Twitter @bluemonki)
Personal highlights for me were:
  • smaller install base (download size < 1GB)
  • MQ is no longer a prerequisite. Not all IIB options will work without MQ yet, but in the future this is the goal.
  • Unit testing is improved with a built-in testservice and CI capabilities
  • Github will be provide extra samples, best practices and also connectors.
The IIB V10.0 Open Beta is now available at to discover all the new features yourself.

The following interesting session that I attended was the presentation by Klaus Bonnert about API management. In an existing Datapower environment, the API-management software can add some useful advantages without having to rewrite your API’s:
  • Analytics view
  • API manager can become your single console for all deployments
  • Self service for user creation

My last session for the day was the session about DFDL (Data Format Description Language) by Alex Wood. Despite being present in MessageBroker since V8, I never really looked at it until now. Much like XSD is for XML, DFDL is a way to describe flatfile and binary data. It is a standard owned by OGF ( and is the way to go for those who want to be able to validate or serialize general text and binary data format.
Some of the features of DFDL:
  • based on XML-schema (DFDL schema is valid xml)
  • human readable
  • high performance, since you can choose the data format that suits you best
  • github for many existing schemas that describe file formats like EDIFACT
  • currently used by message broker / IIB, rational, Master Data Mgmt
  • IBM DFDL also available as an embeddable component (latest release V1.1.1)
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(Photo Twitter @hosie31504)

Author: Tim

Saturday, October 18, 2014

webMethods Integration Server StatsViewer

When running a lot of assets or a small footprint, memory consumption becomes a problem. Luckily the webMethods IS logs the memory usage in the stats logs (for those that don't have more advanced monitoring like jmx). However these log files contain the usage as hex values. This doesn't make it easy for browsing through the logs.

Excel can come in handy, but it is cumbersome to provide functions for conversion for every file you open. I remembered that their used to be a utility on wmusers to view the log files graphically and I was able to find the thread on the techcommunity...unfortunately without the source. I eventually did find the utility on the site, but it just feels outdated. As this use case was fairly simple, I started looking around the web and found a great javascript library to create graphs, namely chart.js. After a few lines of code (thanks to HTML5) I already had my first view of some stats...great! After some tweaking I now have a quite stable tool to read stats files.

You can find the sources here. For now it only parses the memory and threads (on a scale to 1000), but you can easily extend it so hopefully it will come in handy for you.

Author: Stefan