Friday, May 14, 2004

The TIBCO programming environment

One good article worth perusal by all earthlings submerged in tech...

eAI -->>Keep ‘Em Talking with TIBCO

In these days of connected networks and Internet protocol, it's hard to remember a time when computers didn't talk to each other. But it wasn’t all that long ago, and there are still a great many computer systems in use today that predate the Internet.

Keep ‘Em Talking with TIBCO

That can make life difficult for organizations that want to bring together all their information in one place, to be integrated and interconnected.

Internet technologies offer the simplest and most efficient way of doing this, but when you have a vital part of your corporate network that doesn't support them, how do you go about achieving that level of interconnectedness?

Changing networks, changing needs

Many large businesses are organic entities that have grown over time. Autonomous divisions, or acquisitions of smaller companies, have led many to have a mish-mash of computer systems, some old, some new. The primary concern is getting these systems to exchange information, even if they were once incompatible.

Today information integration is an important part of keeping an organization in shape. Enterprise Application Integration (eAI) takes a collection of modern and legacy computer systems, gets them working together and talking to each other. Businesses with eAI work more efficiently, and save money in the process. It's a tool for long-term business survival.

Building blocks

TIBCO is a programming environment that provides the means to do this, and it is one that Accenture makes regular use of. Accenture consultant Scot Kinser explains further: "TIBCO is a component development suite that helps us integrate applications, databases, mainframe installations and so on.”

“We use the suite to integrate information and data. We decide on data structures, define business processes, and use the tools to automate them,” Scot continues. "The tools in TIBCO help us define the data and logic structures, and simplify the code. Then they help us run it."

TIBCO is popular with coders because it runs on a variety of platforms (most Unix systems, Windows NT, or even AS400) and supports many different programming languages, including Java, C, JavaScript or even Perl.

There is a useful Application Programming Interface (API), which means users can customize their own modules for linking to legacy computer systems. TIBCO provides adapters for linking to specific installations, like Siebel systems or Oracle databases.

What’s good about TIBCO

He says: "“TIBCO enables users to effectively coordinate business processes that span their organization and those of their partners and customers. You have considerable flexibility, given the modular nature of TIBCO’s solutions, making it easy and fast for users to add and modify systems, functions, and business processes. Their solution fits well into Accenture’s overall view of the scope of services required for true enterprise integration.”
Another advantage comes with TIBCO's built-in portal software, which is another powerful tool, according to Scot.

"The portal is a separate product in its own right, but it comes into its own when combined with all the work you have done with the backend systems," he explains. "You can take all the backend data and manipulate it. You can present it to the user in a simplified web-based format that anyone can use via any web browser.

"The user remains unaware of the complexities of the systems being integrated behind the scenes, and that's how it should be. It means they can get on with doing the work they need to do. But in effect, the user becomes part of the integration – that’s the real value."

Leonardo Vomero of Accenture's Communication and High Tech practice in Rome agrees, and points out some of TIBCO's most useful features.

"While using TIBCO on one of our major projects, the most useful features were scalability and the unique standard for exchanging information. It means all the information moved around the client's network is sent via TIBCO and can be used through all the standard and custom adapters for other applications."

Keep talking

Ultimately, it is good communication that makes a company or organization work better. Not just in terms of people talking to one another, but also various computer networks and systems doing the same thing.

TIBCO is a useful way of integrating some very complex back-end systems and providing a dead simple web-based front end for the benefit of users. It gets systems and people talking in a way they may not have been able to manage before.

Trying to make this happen manually would be a daunting - and probably quite dull - task for any programmer or network analyst. But with right tools, even a job like this can be made simpler and easier. "

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