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From Berin Loritsch <blorit...@infoplanning.com>
Subject RE: B2B [was Re: Announce: XML::EP]
Date Tue, 28 Mar 2000 16:32:26 GMT
First of all, I am very encouraged at the ability and stability of the Cocoon framework.
Most of the business needs we have are addressed either explicitly by Cocoon, or
implicitly by Java.  Anyone know how to get SSL going with Tomcat?

My interest has been piqued with XML databases, but I still remain skeptical.  They
seem too buzzword compliant, and not enough known hard stats/advantage about
them yet.  If they can compete in performance AND stability, and scale well, then
they might require a closer look.  I am willing to give anything a try--provided there
is enough time in the schedule.

As far as my "vision" for workflow management, I don't know if that is something that
Cocoon should provide, or if it should be another project altogether.  We have
evaluated a number of third party packages that provide a framework for dynamic
workflow management, including Allaire Spectra, Domino Workflow, Active Soft
ActiveMovr, and one other (I can't remember the package right know).  Allaire and
Domino had the best pricing structure.  The deciding factor for us was the maturity
of the product.

Workflow in a nutshell is the flow of work (and its associated data) through an
organization.  All legacy software was built around the supposition that business
practices don't change--creating a self-fulfilled prophecy.  Because it is so difficult
to change the legacy software, companies find it difficult to adapt their structure
and business practices in a changing market.  Workflow is a relatively new business
area, and is meant to facilitate businesses to change with the market they serve.

There are many components that make up a workflow system.  A workflow system
requires messaging, data repository, rule-based data manipulation, and others.
I personally am very new to the whole thing, but I'm learning quickly.

You can look at http://www.aiim.org/wfmc/mainframe.htm for an overview of a
standards based organization that is trying to get some interchange formats for
workflow.  You would be able to get a better idea of what's involved.

-----Original Message-----
From:	Stefano Mazzocchi [SMTP:stefano@apache.org]
Sent:	Tuesday, March 28, 2000 5:51 AM
To:	cocoon-users@xml.apache.org
Subject:	B2B [was Re: Announce: XML::EP]

Berin Loritsch wrote:
> 
> Coming from a company that specialises in B2B, I can shed some light on
> the subject.  B2B (or Business to Business for the uninitiated) is the process
> of creating a tool that facilitates sales between businesses.  So, what does
> that mean for the Open Source community?  It means that Open Source
> community needs to address business needs for their projects to be used
> commercially.

Correct... but I'd rather having people like you with real technical
needs coming to us and help around... than competing on a feature-base
with commercial products.

If we fight the commericial battle we loose big time... but if we keep
the battle on the technical field, you can't beat a community this big.
 
> Internet companies that have to do rapid application development don't have
> the time to design the minute details of their systems.  They find it to be
> cheaper and more benificial to use components built by third parties to build
> their business oriented apps.  They use Application Servers instead of just
> servlet engines because the application server solves specific problems
> for them.  The application server has components built in to worry about
> client (or session) tracking, authentication and security, and--for the truly
> sophisticated--workflow management.
>
> B2B is more than passing XML files with the same schema (this is only one
> part of the equation).  It also includes LDAP, SQL, and SSI (secure
> connections).  Cocoon addresses a number of these necessary pieces
> very well, but--as with any product--can be improved.  Granted, I am not
> the best expert on the subject--I only know what my business needs.

Cocoon includes LDAP, SQL and SSL already... (SSL via mod_ssl) plus
other things that B2B commericial products lack completely. Can be
improved? you bet! I'll never say the opposite... what I'm saying is
that Cocoon is a perfect choice for B2B needs today... just I don't say
it because, to me, this is an insult!
 
> A company that does B2B needs a product where they can differentiate the
> site for each customer--making the same components work, but displayed
> differently.  The Cocoon framework is excellent on this front.
> 
> As far as your "next trend" segment goes, I believe you are incorrect.  The
> trend is Workflow management.  I'm not talking about custom workflow that
> is hard coded, I am talking about a framework that allows for dynamic
> changing of the workflow as the business processes change--with no extra
> coding.

Interesting vision.
 
> XML databases are in my view pointless.  We can use any number of tools
> to generate XML from database records.  Using text files to store database
> information is slow at best, and unusable at worst.

totally! But even using XPath or XQL to query a database with some XML
view, is, IMO, totally useless.

> Two things that need to happen for Open Source projects like Cocoon to
> really be appealing are: graphical interfaces, and an application building
> framework (Using EJB, CORBA, and some other type of framework pieces).

All of this is coming faster than you realize ;-) Not everything I'm
working on is public... yet :)

> Workflow is something that I definitely want to see a project for.

Care to elaborate a little more on this... what is your vision and what
is missing? I'm very interested in other visions.
 
> Our current business plan for application frameworks is to migrate from
> ColdFusion (decent, but style is mixed with content and logic) to WebSphere
> using Cocoon and Sphere's application beans.

One of our plans is to integrate Castor to provide object persistence
abstraction to XSPs and cocoon components in general... so that we
provide another decouple between the server side logic and the logic
that performs the data mining/storing.

Castor can then be used to hook up to RDBMS or EJB servers or stuff like
that... in a transacting secure way...

Well, it's early days, but there are missing things and we are working
on completing the picture. Count on it.
 
This said, we are, by far, not perfect so any help is really
appreciated.

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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