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First – apologies to anyone that visits here thinking I might actually have posted something real (as opposed to the delicious links).

Second – some excuses:

I went on holiday again (I know – i only went in August, what can I say?) We visited Tasmania (the island state of Australia south of Melbourne – pics on Flickr) with two other couples – all in motorhomes (RV’s for you Americans out there). A good time was had by all and generous amounts of alcohol were imbibed.

This meant that when I got back from being Internet-less, I had about 2000 blog posts in the reader … which is finally caught up.

What am I doing now?

When I got back, my boss had missed me so much I got more work on our ERP (Oracle/JDE EnterpriseOne) implementation – to my chagrin. More interestingly, I started a project to implement SOA to integrate/orchestrate some planning software created in a research project with CSIRO, a local research quango to assist in collaborative decision-making around winery grape intake. An overview of the project is on the CSIRO site. We are using Sonic Software’s ESB product, and due to our commitment to the ERP implementation, outsourcing most of the ESB development to Progress Software’s local service arm. We have been using Sonic JMS for a few years in a small way, and in integration between the ERP and existing systems. Our own developers have started with ESB, creating a couple of services (simple file drop and email stuff).

Now – Sonic aren’t the only people doing this stuff, but we have been pretty happy with their kit, and once you get your head around the principles involved, it’s actually not difficult to implement (heck – I did some of it four years back, how hard can it be?), although it can be fiddly. One thing I’ve noticed over the three major versions of Sonic we’ve used – the functionality has evolved rapidly. With v5 there was a lot more hand-coding than there is with v7, and standards compliance has improved (back with v5, standards were still being developed of course!). Like a lot of other tool providers Progress/Sonic have gone to an Eclipse-based IDE, which has generally been a good thing (except for those of us who find themselves with 3 separate Eclipse installations). The Progress OpenEdge IDE CAN be installed in a “normal” Eclipse installation, but only by installing it separately and copying the plugins and features directories – and you have to be careful about version compatibility (plus I am doubtful that Progress support would be too sympathetic if you rang with a problem).

One of the other interesting things about this project is that we are using some web collaboration – it’s a Sharepoint-based discussion forum/document repository to enable the team (spread between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide) to share information. I am a little unsure about Sharepoint (2003, not the latest 2007 version) and its ability to dump the material later into a more open format for documentation/archiving, but as a test of Web 2.0 principles it should suffice.

And, of course …
The silly season is upon us, and I’m sure I’ll eat and drink more than is good for me … all the best to you and yours for whatever you wish to celebrate at this time of year!

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