Stories by Sean McGrath

Web sites, databases and other illusions

Strange as it may seem, there is actually no such thing as a web site. By this I mean that URLs - the things we instruct our browsers to fetch
- are pretty much opaque strings as far as the infrastructure of the Web is concerned.

Opinion: Enabling the social dimension of effective e-business

In his autobiographical book entitled Just For Fun, Linus Torvalds, of Linux fame, recounts an interesting theory. He suggests that developments in this world that are driven by people, often follow a three part usage pattern. The theory suggests that our motivating factors change focus from survival to social to entertainment concerns over time.

Opinion: Testing, testing, one to three, testing

Imagine the brain of a software developer in which the left hemisphere is devoted to pragmatism and the right hemisphere is devoted to intellectual rigor and correctness. Let's travel through that brain, surfing on a wave of thought, from left earlobe to right earlobe. The thought we are surfing on is this: "How do I know my software is correct?".

The integration adapter game

So, you have decided you need an integration strategy? Good for you! Welcome to the burgeoning enlightened-but-worried club.

Von Neumann's curse

Imagine a very, very large corn field. Think about a field the size of a large city, or perhaps a factor of ten bigger than that. Now consider how you
would harvest the ripe corn in that field.

The Return of X?

You will no doubt have noticed that in recent times, the letter "X" has been co-opted by the XML world. There was a time, not too long ago, when "X" typically denoted a completely different technology space known as X11.

Identity in the real world

There are lots of technologies making the rounds right now that pertain to identity and identity management. A combination of factors are at play here. On one hand, there is the security situation which has breathed new impetus into the sector. On the other hand, there is B2B e-commerce which, some would argue is "on hold" pending resolution of the identity problem.

The end of database-centric design?

As I write this, it is early June. Early June is a period that strikes fear into school-going Irish teenagers as it ushers in the season for high tension, high drama, all-or-nothing examinations.

Dreaming up an enterprise application architecture

It was fathers day and I had too much to eat for my Sunday dinner. No sooner had by posterior hit the sofa than I was in a deep, noisy snooze.
Fortunately for me, some combination of the lamb and mint sauce conspired to produce an interesting hallucinogenic dream state. Normal
people would, in such a state, engage in wildly interesting travels. I, on the other hand, ended up in a debate about enterprise application
architectures.

The technology turkey awards

You don't need me to tell you that there was some odd expenditure on Information Technology during the dot com years. Now that we can look
back on it from the relative sanity of 2003, surely there should be an award initiated for the best (worst) examples of IT expenditure during
that period? We could call them the 'Technology Turkey Awards', thus following in an established tradition of celebrating the awful.

Web services: IT churn or IT revolution?

A common theme in science fiction writing is the idea that in the future, goods will have obsolescence built-in. That is to say, they will be designed to self-destruct after a period of time. Clothes, cars, household goods, all will have perishability designed into them in the interests of future sales.

RDF and other monkey wrenches

Somebody, I think it was Adam Bosworth of BEA, once said that every layer of abstraction costs you 50% of your audience. Or words to that
effect.

What does it mean for one enterprise application to 'talk' to another?

Pick a technical conversation, any conversation, going on in your enterprise between pure IT people and business IT people. If my experience is anything to go by, about 50% of the technical terms being bandied about in that conversation have incompatible definitions in the minds of the conversants.