Sybase Looks To Bridge SODA Tools Gap

Sybase says that enterprise devs need help to bridge the gap between traditional dev tools and tools for loosely-coupled SOA projects. To that end, during JavaOne, Sybase announced an early adopter program for its Workspace development environment, which is specially tuned for transitioning traditional devs to event- or data-driven SOA apps development. Take a tour, or sign up as an early adopter.

Tags: Workspace, Devs, Business Process, Applications, SOA, Enables, Modeling,

Sybase, a leader in enterprise data, says that devs need more help to bridge the gap between traditional dev tools and tools for loosely-coupled SOA projects.

To that end, during JavaOne Sybase announced an early adopter program for its Workspace development environment, a dev platform specially tuned for helping traditional devs easily transition to SOA event- or data-driven applications.

"On the whole, development tools make it easier to build EJBs or stand-alone applications or even web apps," Loren Corbridge product Sybase' Workspace manager told Integration Developer News.

"But what we're seeing from customers told us there needs to be a bridge between that kind of traditional development and what's needed for SOA, which is dynamic and uses abstractions and fluid architectures," Corbridge added.

Workspace targets what Gartner calls "service-oriented development of applications," Corbridge said. "What we're after is to take the silos, where much of the complex business logic belongs, and put a layer on top to expose those [and other resources in the silo] as a service," she said.

A Dev Perspective of SODA Solutions
A Gartner research note from last fall said the following about SODA:

"[It] is not just the latest development craze. Instead, it is a strong development style that leads to substantial returns on investment and cost reduction. The most likely and most appropriate style in the 'real world' will be mixed, which includes RAD [rapid application development], architected rapid application development (ARAD) and AMD (Architected model-driven) in an appropriate manner."

To fill the SODA gap for devs, Sybase's Workspace integrates a number of SOA features growing in importance. These include: data management, services assembly and orchestration, modeling, Java development and even enabling apps for mobile devices. WorkSpace, while based on the Java Eclipse Framework, will also enable devs to build apps that leverage heterogeneous infrastructures, including J2EE, .NET and legacy systems.

One of the trickiest aspects of moving from traditional Java development, for instance, to SODA, can be how to compositize an application's discreet elements, and then put into place technologies that let these discrete elements "talk" to one another again. Workspace characterizes this process as "Service Assembly and Orchestration," and offers devs the following assistance.

1. To start, business process activities can be bound to service invocations, and similarly, service interfaces can serve as inputs for mobile application definition.

2. To better enable creation and sharing of composite apps, WorkSpace uses the concepts of "Service Consumers" and "Service Provider" definitions. "Service Consumers" access services (from the "Service Providers") through various protocols such as HTTP and JMS using the access mechanisms for service definitions.

This approach means that devs need not know actual endpoint for service definition, because the endpoint is independent of the access mechanism. Moreover, again because this separation between "consumers" and "providers," apps management elements, such as Quality of Service (QOS) characteristics, can be assigned for setting boundary conditions for service delivery.

3. To visually capture business processes, WorkSpace bridges different information service sources into its visual design perspective by brining legacy data definitions and custom wire transforms into the business process definitions, as well as supporting transformation development between various data definitions. Workspace also provide run-time bindings of these business processes to any service - whether derived from existing legacy sources or from newly-created service interfaces using WorkSpace.

4. To support BPEL-compliant runtimes, Workspace uses a visual model based on standard Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), and provides a highly descriptive representation of the business's underlying processes captured in a Business Process Execution Language (BPEL)-compliant document.

This BPEL-compliant information can be used to configure the run-time execution because Workspace's integration tooling is tightly integrated with the BPM which came from the design-time tooling in Workspace. This approach enables a real-time synchronization between the abstract model and concrete bindings of the business process.

Workspace Feature Set
Among Workspace's integrated feature set are:

  • Data Tooling: To make data transparent to developers. Graphical development of SQL statements, coupled with advanced editing and debugging of stored procedures, triggers, and database events, enable developers to rapidly deploy data-driven applications. Demonstrating its expertise in this area, Sybase is currently leading a Data Tools Platform project with the Eclipse organization and its members.

  • Services Creation and Assembly: Uses graphical tools for creation of services, message transformation, and orchestration of services into composite applications and automated processes. It allows developers new to SOA concepts to quickly leverage existing assets as services in a heterogeneous infrastructure.

  • Enterprise Modeling: To support requirements analysis and design; data and replication modeling; object modeling (using UML); and process modeling. It also enables reverse engineering of heterogeneous environments, for clear visibility into the enterprise, as well as automated script and code generation, for faster development; and

  • Mobile Capabilities: Specialized tooling to mobilize data, applications, services and processes quickly, with support for both online and offline access.

    Sybase Workspace is slated to ship this fall, but devs interested in participating in the Workspace early adopter program can contact Sybase at