Friday, October 8, 2010

pureXML Devotees Webcast: "Exploring XML Solutions with Rational Software Architect/Rational Application Developer and DB2 pureXML

I'll be jointly delivering a webcast next Tuesday titled: "Exploring XML Solutions with Rational Software Architect/Rational Application Developer and DB2 pureXML". The webcast is being offered through the pureXML Devotee's community. This webcast is open to one and all that have an interest in using XML and some of the IBM tools (RSA, RAD, DB2).

We'll be taking a look at the importance of XML in creating a solution, highlighting how DB2 pureXML can be used to manage XML-based data, and then looking at how we can use the capabilities of RSA/RAD to design and develop such solutions. This will include a brief look at the WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack for XML. All-in-all we'll be touching upon XML from end-to-end and discussing how you can use IBM tools to help in this effort.

Here's the details on the logistics:
"Exploring XML Solutions with Rational Software Architect/Rational Application Developer and DB2 pureXML" on Oct 12 at noon (mid-day) US Eastern. We expect the call to last about an hour, but of course it may continue for a little longer if there is a lot of chat or discussion.
Please call into: 1-877-848-7046 or 636-651-0036 - passcode: 4258904
And please also join this Web chat When you enter the Web chat, you can use the settings option to change your name from anonymous.
The charts will be made available in the Web chat room.
You can see more information here - "

There's been many other sessions already delivered (and recorded) for the pureXML Devotee's community. If you are interested in learning more about managing XML data in DB2 - take a look at the communities site. Topics covered previously include concepts such as querying XML data, data storage, customer strategies and experiences.


Monday, September 20, 2010

pureXML exercise on SOA Sandbox

If you'd like to gain some hands-on experience with the pureXML capabilities of DB2, I'd like to invite you to try the exercise that we've deployed to the SOA Sandbox cloud-based environment at developerWorks. This environment provides free access to DB2, Optim Development Studio and instructions for an exercise introducing you to querying XML data.

To work in the environment, you will need to download a small Citrix client. Once installed you'll have access to a pre-configured environment. So no need to download, install, or configure the database or associated tooling. Once signed up, you will be given 4 hours of access to the environment. There is no fee associated with the exercise or working in the Sandbox. If you would like additional time, you can work with your sales team to arrange for up to 30 days of access.

The exercise is a straight-forward introduction to working with XML data and querying via XPath and XQuery. Typically should take about 30 minutes to complete


Friday, September 3, 2010


A few weeks back, August 7th to be exact, I participated in my first ultramarathon. The HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile/50K. I ran the 50 K portion - not quite yet up to a 50 mile run (but something to aim for in the future). The race is held just outside of Helena, MT - nice town, gorgeous area, and friendly people.

I had previously run the Powderface42 - my first trail marathon a few weeks earlier (on July 17th). I was a little achy for a couple of days after the race (mostly struggled with stairs as my quads and hamstrings had taken a bit of a beating). However, as the endorphins were still flowing freely - I had the idea that I should do another race. Another trail race and even look at going a bit further. Dangerous ideas.

In researching dates, locales and how they fit into the summer schedule - the HURL event was chosen. It was reasonable distance, so driving was possible - and gave a chance to go somewhere new. The initial challenge would be to change my thinking from seeing Powderface as my target race, to being a training run in preparation for HURL. Going 50K versus 42K (marathon distance) didn't seem that daunting, but adding in 2000 more feet of climbing and you start to wonder.

In preparing for the event - most of the focus was in recovering from Powderface and then building up some energy for the ultra run. Shorter runs, biking and taking it easy for a few weeks. Longest run in between the two events was about 10 miles.

The night before the race, a carb-loading and racer briefing was held at site just outside Helena (part of the park where the race was being held). The day was pleasant, but as night approach it started to cloud over and during the outdoor briefing the rain came down (and down). There was a small shelter that was used for the briefing - it had a roof, but no walls. Kept us dry, for the most part, but the rain was loud on the roof. The hope was that the weather would pass, the course would be somewhat dry and wouldn't be a factor in the run.

Day of the race was quite nice. No rain - some cloud and stayed cool for a good portion of the run. For the 50K portion of the race, we started at 7AM - the 50 Milers had already been out for 2 hours before we started. The run went through a number of mountains, through the forest and through a number of streams. Some of the forest had previously had fires, so it was a bit eerie to be running through and seeing the scorched trees.

One of my favorite parts of the run - especially as things started to get achy - was the stream crossings. The water was freezing cold - refreshing and energizing. The toughest part was the climbing. In particular - I struggled with the climbs at the 20 and 21 mile mark. Was getting to be later in the day, was getting hot out and was already getting a bit tired. But having to climb for a couple of miles at that point took a lot out of me. After that point, even going downhill became tough as I didn't trust that I could react if the ground was uneven, there was an obstacle or I lost balance. So I ended up slowing down quite a bit.

Here's a view of the elevation profile for the race:

and for comparison sake, here's a view of the elevation profile for Powderface:

There's about 2000 feet difference between the two races - but there's also quite a difference in how the climbs occur. Not sure if one was more difficult/easier - in the end you still end up climbing a lot.

One more picture - here I am in an action shot. Tried a new color for the running shirt - told I was too hard to pick out of the crowd as I passed the different points in the race - thought yellow would be a good way to stand out.

Now - I'm trying to figure out what's next. Maybe another race yet this fall? Not sure yet. In the meantime, trying to heal a bit (hamstring has been achy for a few months now) and mourn the loss of a couple of toenails.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finish Lines!!

July's been a big month with two big finish lines crossed. On July 2nd, my book Patterns-Based Engineering: Successfully Delivering Solutions via Patterns was released. Myself and Celso Gonzalez had spent the past couple of years (yikes!) working on this project and it was a big moment when the book shipped. We're still busy with the book - but now its all about supporting the release. We have a website up to support the book (to which we are frequently posting), have articles underway, and are setting some dates for webcasts. So still busy, but busy in a new way.

The other finish line was the completion of the powderface42 - trail marathon. The race was this past weekend, been resting up a bit before posting this. The race is tough - running through the mountains just outside of Calgary. Although not possible (as the start/finish line is in the same spot) - it seemed as though the entire race went uphill. Total elevation gain for the race was just under 5k feet - so quite a bit of climbing (and descending). There was a couple points where the climb felt steep enough that I started to consider whether it would be better to climb using hands and feet.

Along the way, there were a number of ponds/marshes/creeks to cross. The ice cold water felt great for the feet! As for injuries - I managed to mostly emerge unscathed. I was sore, of course, from the running and climbing, but otherwise feeling good. I did kick a tree branch along the way, so a toe was quite sore, but it looks like all of my toenails will be staying with me. I've included a few pictures taken by my support crew - will look to link to some more once the official pictures are released.

In bringing the two events back together - in the time that it took to write the book, I've now run two marathons and 3 half-marathons. Before starting the book, I'd never run in a race. All told its been a long effort (running and writing) - and its great to reach these milestones.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Patterns-Based Engineering: Successfully Delivering Solutions via Patterns

The book that I've been working on: Patterns-Based Engineering: Successfully Delivering Solutions via Patterns is going to be released soon (July 2nd!). Myself and my co-author, Celso Gonzalez, have been wrapping up the production effort over the last few months (edits, proofs, etc) and working at cleaning up and packaging our downloads. We've also created a website to support the book - accessible at:

The website is still in early days, but we have a few posts up, as well as links to order the book, some pointers to related books and materials as well as access to some downloads related to the book. And as of today, a sample chapter is available from InformIT - links to the material are provided from the PBE site.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Upcoming pureXML Bootcamps and some related resources

We have a number of pureXML Bootcamps coming up in the next while in McLean, Virginia and Manhattan, NY. We keep the latest details on upcoming bootcamps on the pureXML wiki.

I participated in a couple of bootcamps last week - one was two days and the other was an abbreviated half-day session. Feedback from the customers that attended was very positive. Its was an enjoyable time for myself - as there were many questions and the days were quite interactive.

A few new resources have become available recently to help with working with XML and pureXML:

  • I have a new article up on developerWorks. This article is meant to serve as a quick reference/cheat sheet as you get up and running in writing queries for DB2 pureXML. It provides coverage of working with XQuery and SQL/XML.
  • Not too long ago - the WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack for XML was released. Some articles and supporting materials to check out include an article on developerWorks as well as a RedPaper that is under development.

Monday, May 17, 2010

pureXML Devotee Community Call - XML Use Cases

There's a pureXML Devotee Community call on Tuesday May 18th covering XML use cases - looking at customer strategies and experiences. Details, including call in number and accessing charts for the talk are available at developerWorks. Note that this page also provides details on additional future calls, as well as recordings from past calls.

These calls are free and provide an excellent resource for learning more about how to work with xml in your datastore.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Software and Cars

With the amount of software that is currently found in today's automobiles - amazing to see in this article ( that the NHTSA does not employ any electrical or software engineers.

With the effort going into chasing down the gremlins (is it ok to discuss gremlins in a car that isn't a gremlin?) in the Toyotas - I'd expect that we'll start to hear much more about electrical and software engineers being involved in judging, measuring and auditing the safety of automobiles.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jython and WAS

Spent some time today working on updates to a lab related to the use of web services on WebSphere Application Server (WAS). In the past, to complete the lab, students would have to manually deploy a WAR file - which was tedious and could be a pain if they were not familiar with WAS admin tasks.

To streamline the effort, I'm investigating replacement of the manual steps with the creation of a Jython script to automate the deployment of the WAR file. I've worked with WAS in the past, but hadn't tried to do any admin scripting or worked with Jython.

I found a few resources on the topic:

  1. WAS v6.1 System Management and Configuration Redbook
  2. WebSphere Application Server V7 Administration and Configuration Guide
  3. Sample Scripts for WebSphere Application Server Versions 5 and 6 - in particular the Admin script samples in Jython
  4. WAS Info Center - in general, as well as a specific page on Command Assistance
  5. IBM Techdocs White Paper: Using Jython Scripting Language with WSADMIN

Probably not that surprising, didn't find one resource that gave me the answer I wanted when I wanted it. Took a bit of digging through these resources. However - if I was starting again (or helping someone else to do this) - I'd suggest taking a look at the Techdocs White Paper, then look at the Command Assistance page at the info center. The White Paper provides a nice overview of Jython and using it to administer WAS. Then, use the Command Assistance to build the commands that you want.

The Command Assistance works inside of the WAS Admin Console - essentially, whenever you perform a task manually, you can ask to see the script that is used to complete the task. So you can perform the set of tasks that would go into your script - capturing each of the Jython statements needed, and then save them to a .py file.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Upcoming SOA Architect Summits

I've been working with a number of SME's from across IBM in updating the SOA Architect Summit. We had our first delivery with the new content earlier this week in Sacramento. All reports in so far indicate that it was a very successful day - content and speakers were great, and customers that attended found that it was an excellent decision to attend.

We have two more Summits scheduled for the quarter - one in Ottawa (Feb 24th) and another in Pittsburgh (Mar 10th). Additional summits will be scheduled at additional locations world-wide through the remainder of the year.

The links above will guide you to the registration and agenda pages for the two upcoming deliveries. Note that we've also created a customizable agenda for the event - so you'll see that there are some differences in the sessions offered and flow at each location.

The event is free to attend - and the content focuses on discussing the aspects of architecting a successful SOA solution within an enterprise. This is an educational offering first and foremost - our goal is to help highlight the issues, nuances and details an architect will deal with in creating their solutions.


End of the Beginning

About a week ago, Celso and I submitted our final manuscript for our PBE book to the publisher. We now move into a production phase - focusing on editing, cleaning up graphics, and getting the manuscript to look like a book. We also have some additional work to do in wrapping up and packaging some collateral that we will be making available as associated downloads. Domain name for a website is registered, and now we have some work to do in setting up the site and publishing our collateral.

The effort and time to get to this point was much more than what was anticipated when we set out to write a book. However, I'm not sure how we could have shortened the time or lessened the effort. Much knowledge was acquired along the way, the manuscript is better now than it was six months ago - incorporating reviews, rewrites, edits and feedback.

I've always been impressed with those that can write and create a book. However, having gone through the process - my amazement and admiration has grown.

And - this is really just the end of the beginning. Sure there's been a great deal of effort, but now how do we leverage this investment? We'll be involved in promoting the book, building and supporting the associated website (and downloadable collateral), discussing the book, some additional conference presentations, and leveraging the book in our day-to-day work efforts.

If you're interested, Amazon has pre-order (.com, .ca) links up at the moment. I'll also post updates as we get closer to the release date.