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Posted July 3, 2004
Chappell describes a highly promising but still speculative technology for connecting together enterprise-wide computations. It can also potentially be used to span different companies. Some of you may groan. Haven't we heard this already, several times? Remember the toutings of CORBA, Java's RMI, JMX, JMS, and the nascent Web Services? Well, ESB draws upon often bitter lessons learnt with these earlier endeavours. CORBA was widely found to be too complex. RMI works only for tightly coupled systems, which do not scale well. So that became one reason for JMS, because it enabled loose coupling. But JMS is too low level. Web Services may indeed be promising, but face a danger of overspecifying a standard before enough practical experience is garnered. ESB tries to subsume the best ideas from the above, and from other efforts. It promises loose coupling and an incremental rollout, amongst other things. The incremental ability may be key to getting a small scale project approved and implemented, due to its minimal investment. You could think of ESB as taking the ideas of the JMX management console a step further. Plus, ESB can use JMX as a subsidiary technology. Chappell also offers nice visual component schematics that could be used to represent and perhaps even assemble an ESB network. If this indeed is possible, it would be tremendous. Akin to the 1980s, when MicroSim offered a graphical version of Spice, with electronic parts availabled from a menu.
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