Author Archives: Mark Denchy

Mobile Form and Function: A New Way of Getting Things Done

You are enjoying a beautiful summer weekend afternoon relaxing in the park and then the chaos lets loose.  Your cell-phone starts ringing, not the soft timbres of your favorite Sci-Fi show, but the Red-Alert alarms from Star Trek’s Enterprise.  No, the Klingons and Romulans haven’t attacked, it’s the hot line from IT Support center.  There are problems with a critical system that has stopped communicating.  The problem affects the company both internally and externally; orders can’t come in, invoices aren’t going out and manufacturing doesn’t know what it should be building.  Literally, this system failure may have just given everybody the day off, and you the opportunity to start a new career as a Sherpa taking rich adventurers up the face of Mt. Everest. Continue reading

Using Twitter as a Notification Vehicle

Tweeting… it seems that everyone is doing it these days.  But, what are we tweeting about?  Is it really useful, serving a valuable purpose or does it just add to the noise of the social arena within the Internet?  Does it really change another’s life or perspective knowing that their friend is “sitting on his back porch”?

Recently, I was in a discussion with a colleague exploring the impact of mobile devices as a means of monitoring system operational health and activity.  We cited the merits of having a smart-phone and being able to check on the status of a back-end system’s activity.  We thought about the content that would most interest system managers: resource status, hung processes and Service-Level Agreement (SLA) compliance. Continue reading

I Can’t See the Forest Because My UI Gets in the Way

I started out expecting to write a blog on dashboards, but quickly found myself thinking in broader terms about user interfaces (UIs). Anyone that has spent just a brief amount of time in the software industry has been exposed to countless UIs. Stop and think about all of the applications and Web sites that you have experienced over your career. For me, it is easily more than 10,000. After 20-plus years, that’s a safe guess.

But, let’s step outside of “our software” and into the more esoteric realm of our day-to-day lives. We encounter many more UIs, as well. What about that microwave, coffee maker, your vehicle dashboard, credit card interface at the McBreakfast or even the security pad at the entrance to the office? They are all examples of UIs that we interact with every day.

So, let’s get it right out in the open: “The best user interface is no user interface at all.” There, I’ve said it. Now the heretical flaming can begin from the RIA pundits. I’ve heard it over and over through the years. However, it’s an interesting idea and doesn’t truly speak to an absolute magical way to control things (hint: that’s still an interface!) but to the notion of simplicity. Simplicity is the key to making a usable, understandable and productive interface. Continue reading

Why do we Integrate?

Recently, I was having dinner with some old friends and the conversation centered on our respective fields that we work in.  When the conversation turned to me, I chatted up how I worked in commercial software, particularly the Integration space.  I received some curious looks, like my friends were trying to get a grasp on what I was talking about.  Then it hit me….What does Integration mean to someone unfamiliar with the discipline? Why does it matter? What are the benefits, and the risks? How much of a problem is this? So, I decided to write a blog, from my perspective, on why Integration is important.

First, let’s think about the meta-types of challenges that businesses face today. Two flavors emerge quickly; problems of the moment (tactical) and visions of where they want to go (strategic). Continue reading

Taking flight to the Cloud with IaaS

Looking out my window, I can see fluffy clouds floating by.  I find myself wondering how I would feel if I knew my applications and data were stored in some great electronic nebula, a cluster of computers far away, possibly scattered around the globe communicating through thin copper and glass connections.  Makes you go…hmmmm.

Thanks for indulging my philosophical moment. Cloud computing is classically categorized into three areas: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  SaaS and PaaS have been popular for quite some time; just look at Google Mail (SaaS) and Salesforce.com (PaaS) for great examples.

I think that the real excitement is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  I had recently attended a Gartner conference on Application Integration and enjoyed a fascinating presentation by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, on how his company is not only virtualizing servers but also virtualizing relational databases and networks.  Continue reading