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Advocacy [was: Re: OSCON BOF report]

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James Duncan
July 31, 2002 01:41
Advocacy [was: Re: OSCON BOF report]
Message ID:
On Tue, 2002-07-30 at 21:03, Perrin Harkins wrote:

> I hope you meant that as a joke., where Leon works, has a 
> whole system built on web services in Perl:

This is a follow up on the advocacy side, but seems to tie-in a little
better following this link. What is important about web services and
Perl is the cross platform side of things.

Whereas previously at Fotango our front end was written in Perl and our
backoffice was a collection of Delphi applications, all sharing a
database now our system is a set of Delphi and Perl front ends to a Web
Services backend. It doesn't matter what the backend is written in.  Of
course you and I both know its written in Perl -- and I like that, which
is why I work in a Perl shop -- however, there are lots of places that
happen to like Java and J2EE.

I know that other language bridges exist for Perl, but I've not found
another language binding that works as consistently well to all the
other languages that people feel the need to use.  If there is, I'd like
to hear about it.

To me an 'enterprise system' is one that doesn't stop Bob in Accounting
from slapping together a VB application to help out with the reporting
if he wants to.  While a database provides that sort of integration
sooner or later Bob is going to want to update some number or another
that has software around it on the other side of the office to make sure
he's doing it correctly.  When that goes wrong it costs organizations
money three times - twice to develop the software and once to track the
issue back to Bob's innocuous change.

Without Web Services I can hand-on-heart say that we wouldn't be writing
Perl at Fotango.  2 years ago when I joined Fotango we were trying to
figure out how we could stay alive given that the dot Com market was
going to collapse Real Soon Now.  The solution was that Fotango stopped
being just 'Your Online Photo Album'. It leveraged its existing internal
skill set (Perl) to write Web Services, and become a software
organization that also happened to sell cheap prints from your digital
camera with its technology.  Strategies like this are a gamble, but
partly because of our backend technology we were acquired by Canon so
one could say it has already paid off.

The killer app of web services isn't that it gives you a '(grid|network)
of services'.  Its that places like Fotango can exist and still sell
software written in Perl to those that drank the $other_language Kool
Aid, and that makes me pretty happy.


James A. Duncan
Chief Scientist,

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