I’m due to meet up with SOA presentation layer technology company edge IPK just as soon as I find a window to stop hyperventilating in. But you know, it’s good to read up on a company before you break (hopefully naan) bread with them, so that’s what I did this morning.
I found the CTO Dharmesh Mistry’s online comments pretty high-spirited and relatively free of corporate inertia. I think the company is trying to position itself as a bit of a nimble bantamweight boxer ready to duck and dive with the changing presentation layer needs heavily impacted by rapidly shifting web 2.0 technologies.
Web 2.0’s influence in this manner, if you accept the argument, is that as applications serving today’s increasingly flaky and disloyal customers must be able to change their front end look and feel dramatically when needed – but that this new ‘user experience’ should not affect the programming logic and or business logic and processes that drive the back end.
“Always think in a decoupled manner. Create as few dependencies between the application layers as possible. Such breaks will allow you to make changes and reduce the risk of defects further into the system,” says Mistry on his blog.
It will be interesting to find out what Mistry thinks the deeper effects might be on total programming logic if we use this essentially SOA-driven decoupling theory and take it down to the application interdependency level. For example, is his company so focused on the presentation layer that they don’t also look behind them to see how the approach they advocate could also benefit the drive towards parallelism?
I put the above to him by email and got the following, “If, for example, I’m making a payment online, the payment application may make a number of different calls to back-end systems. There may be a variety of different authentication checks or credit checks, some of which can be done in parallel and hidden from the end-user. Ultimately if this leads to better user experiences then so much the better.”
While you might expect a really creative presentation layer specialist to talk about its sexy customers in retailing, online shopping and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sectors, edge IPK actually does most of its business in the wacky world of insurance and banking. To be fair, these are sectors looking to create product differentiation as much as other right now – so not quite lion taming, but pretty good just the same.
After all, decoupling the presentation layer – and holding that data as a session variable – makes it far more straightforward to carry out alterations and modifications and this, in theory, should loosen the reins between screen display and back-end coding.
“Whilst layering is very important to an application the decoupling of the presentation layer should be of paramount focus as the majority of changes will be in the front end and hence will require the greatest flexibility. This flexibility in the frontend presentation therefore focuses on the needs of the user. Which, in the end, is all that matters.”
That last comment may be a bit too cheesy-customer-centric I suppose; all that REALLY matters is the business as the number one priority surely? But let’s not get theological about this. For my money, Infragistics has been one of the only companies who have been particularly vocal on the ‘presentation layer’ as such in recent times, so the more the merrier I say.