I just got back from IBM’s Impact 2008 show. This show was a pretty amazing whirlwind tour with a primary focus around SOA. It took place in the MGM Grand hotel in Vegas. I was amazed at the size of the MGM Grand property. The conference spanned multiple buildings and I would say at least a square mile of territory.
The conference spanned most of the buildings in the picture on the right. Many of the meetings were in the larger buildings that are relatively close. An Un-Conference that I participated in was in the second signature tower. The second signature tower is the middle of the three thin tall towers in the middle picture.
One of the highlights of the conference was the announcement of WebSphere sMash. WebSphere sMash is the commercial offering based on the incubator project Project Zero. ProjectZero is an attempt to implement the PHP language on top of a JVM. WebSphere is going to support dynamic languages. The first two dynamic languages that they are going to support are PHP and Groovy. With this project, you can code your application in PHP, Groovy, C, and Java. All four of these languages will run in the same process space making calls between the different languages very easy. They have also included some great tooling. They have an IDE in Eclipse and an IDE in the web browser. They have also been leveraging their own technologies in the development of the project. They have PHPBB running on the project zero site in WebSphere sMash.
I also had the opportunity to sit down with Jerry Cuomo the CTO and IBM Fellow in charge of this project and record a podcast that is available on IBM’s DeveloperWorks site. At this point, they have two software packages running on sMash: PHPBB and SugarCRM. The instructions for installing and configuring Sugar for sMash are still being refined. There is also a 10 minute video of Sugar on Zero being extended to span multiple languages and leveraging a SOAP to REST API conversion layer.
This project started about 10 months ago and is still getting refined rapidly. At this point it is capable of running Sugar pretty well. It is also setup to create separate Java processes for each application that you are hosting on your machine. Each application has its own set of dependencies and configurations. This allows each application to be setup with the resources that it needs to accomplish its mission independently of any other application on the system. They also have a repository system that allows the distribution of projects complete with custom configurations.
At this point, the current code is implemented in a way to get maximum functionality as quick as possible. a the functionality gets further and further towards completion, I am very interested to see how well the IBM team is able to leverage some of the person centuries IBM has invested in tooling, optimization, monitoring, virtualization, and scalability.
Check out ProjectZero and let me know what you think.
CTO and Co-Founder