BEA's Free Flow

BEA's Free Flow

Summary: Over at Between the Lines, Dan Farber offers some insight on BEA's new go-to-market strategy.  Code-named Project Free Flow, the company's approach is "basically a service infrastructure grid that allows composite applications and services to be composed that are abstracted from the underlying systems and technology.

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Over at Between the Lines, Dan Farber offers some insight on BEA's new go-to-market strategy.  Code-named Project Free Flow, the company's approach is "basically a service infrastructure grid that allows composite applications and services to be composed that are abstracted from the underlying systems and technology. Whereas BEA’s J2EE-based WebLogic is about developing code and compiling, FreeFlow is an SOA environment for modeling business processes and building composite applications without reliance on programmer skills."

 BEA Stack View

beastack4.jpg

Farber notes that "BEA is not alone is developing an SOA service infrastructure that allows non-technical business people to compose business processes and modify workflows." He also wonders how much of a differentiator BEA's stance as an "independent" platform provider represents. There's certainly some tough talk on the BEA Web site:

"The industry’s interests cannot be served by the digital imperialism of application or database vendors seeking to perpetuate their agenda. An independent, bias-free provider delivers more choices, is better able to drive and adopt open standards, and collaborates more freely with the entire partner community to deliver a broader range of customer-focused solutions. It’s freer to drive technology in the direction of maximum transparency, flexibility, and cooperation….BEA’s independent infrastructure allows customers to maintain ownership of the intellectual property and labor they’ve invested in custom business logic—without threat of vendor lock-in. If you compose it, compile it or code it, you own it. These ownership rights also provide more freedom in choosing systems and providers, protecting the CIO’s leverage with vendors."

The lure of the independent platform vendor, states Farber, is "less of a deal maker than in the past. Enterprises are looking for integrated solutions with a rapid ROI, not necessarily agnosticism, especially at a time when standards-based computing based on Web services and XML is becoming the norm." 

Nevertheless, all efforts to bring development capabilities to business people ("the rest of us") are to be highly welcomed. Such efforts will extend the promise of SOA beyond today's opaque cloisters of enterprise IT.

Topic: Software Development

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3 comments
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  • BEA's FreeFall

    It seems to me that the hype around "FreeFall" is about trying to distract people from BEA's woes rather than anything new or innovative.

    FreeFall is essentially a new name for a bunch of products BEA announced a long time ago, but have yet to deliver. WebLogic 9.0 was supposed to ship over a year a ago but is still a beta release.

    What ever happened to the last great hype from BEA? Project Cajun became WebLogic Workshop which hasn't exactly caught fire with developers.
    bluenosethree@...
    • BEA in trouble

      BEA's sentiment that business systems development should be abstracted from the technical elements of the system is entirely correct and achievable.

      However the methods they are adopting to achieve this are clearly completely misguided and definitely doomed to failure.
      jorwell
      • SOA is really the issue

        If SOA succeeds; then BEA's SOA initiative will succeed along with it.

        The ultimate measure of SOA will be whether it actually makes it cheaper/easier for an enterprise to build its systems. If it does ... it'll thrive. If not, see ya.

        Like some J2EE standards SOA makes simple things complicated; a bad sign. In a good architecture simple things are simple; but with SOA everything needs to have an embedded XML/SOAP/SOA engine (which needs to be deployed into an app server), so nothing can really be done ultra light weight.

        So I don't see this really as BEA's problem, they are a fairly well run company. Its really an issue with the J2EE standard adoption process and just a OO-induced tendancy to over-engineer everything in sight.
        lintdog