IBM and Yahoo have come together to launch an entry-level enterprise search product. The IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition can index up to 500,000 documents, more than 200 file types and documents in more than 30 languages. The enterprise search is a three-click install and comes with the open source Lucene library for cross-platform, full-text indexing.

You can download the product here.

Peter explains the various options available with jar file format and how you can exploit each of them.

Click on the title to read the article.

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BEA Weblogic Portal Team has published a capacity planning document that compiles and brings together some of the best practices around the portal performance tuning.

Check out the paper here.

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India central government has enlisted IBM to help it build a Web portal that citizens can use to access thousands of services, ranging from business permits to housing subsidies and tax advice. Check out the details here.

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Literally, Metadata is data about data or more precisely it is information about the data that is not, business data. The classic example would be a database schema, which uses a precise language to describe the data held in the database.

In the software development world, the Metadata is used to customize or control the behavior of software systems. Software Products provide a varied levels of configurability into their systems to accommodate a broad range of needs.

Application Developer proffessionals can leverage the same approach to make applications more adaptable to changing business conditions. They incorporate metadata into their design thinking to create more agile business systems, whose behavior can be changed outside the software development cycle.

Check out more details on Metadata here.

Pranshu have mentioned about the skills required for an architect here. I want to add some more implicit factors that I have encountered while architecting solutions that can make difference between success and failure of a project.

Whenever I start work on architecting solution for a client, I make sure that I identify and keep an eye for the following
  1. Identify the stakeholders – It is very important to identify the stakeholders in the project.
    1. Business Folks - The business folks will provide the requirements, timelines, and scope and budget availability.
    2. IT Folks - The IT folks will provide the details on the existing architecture, business applications, architecture vision and roadmap, maintenance schedule for the existing applications, environment guidelines, and standards around development, tools to be used and so on.
    3. 3rd Party Vendors - In these days of multi vendor strategies, you may have to work and co-ordinate with the multiple vendors at the client organizations. If the other vendor is strongly entrenched, he/she can make your life miserable. The success of the project will depend on the co-operation. There have been cases where delay by the 3rd party vendors might disrupt your schedules and quite possibly even the blame might come on you for not managing the project properly.
    4. SME – Next important group are the SME’s. It is very important to identify and blocking their time from the requisite SME’s on the project. You might want to book their calendar in advance. Lot of times, key people who understand the system might have left the organization (that’s why client gave you this project), so you may have to look at alternate avenues.
    5. End User - This group might be internal. So make you meet the key people and understand their expectations from the project. They will form the key factor in the User Acceptance Testing phase of the project.

    It is very important to carry both the parties along if we want to make a successful delivery. Further, identify the person who will be signing off on the artifacts that get produced.

  2. Identify the priorities – Any project will have the following pull factors
    • Time
    • Money/Budget
    • Scope

    It is very important to identify the priority of each of these for the identified stakeholder. It will help you in identifying which is critical factor when architecting the solution. E.g. If time or go-to-market is critical factor, you might want to look at creating a simple solution. If scope is huge or not defines properly, going for an iterative approach will be preferred choice.

  3. Identify the standards – Understand your client organization standards for everything – documentation, quality, software, hardware etc. The sign off on a deliverable can get struck because it does not satisfy the requisite standards of the client organization. Most of the Fortune 500 organizations have Software Review Boards – that take a call which software (including open source libraries) can be used for projects within the organization. Anything new, means more paper work and time to get the requisite approvals. Again here, the key IT folks can help you in getting the approvals on a fast lane.

Besides this, you still need to go through the rigors of approaching the project as defined. But the factors mentioned above are not really part of the regular project architecture and management process.

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The architect observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.

The architect doesn't talk, she acts.
When this is done,
the team says, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!"

When a great architect leads, the team
is hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst, one who is despised.

A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets her intuition
lead her wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed herself of concepts
and keeps her mind open to what is.
Thus the architect is available to everyone
and rejects no one.
She is ready to use all situations
and does not waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.

If you want to shrink something,
you must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something,
you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to take something,
you must first allow it to be given.
This is called the subtle perception
of the way things are.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a mystery.
Just show people the results.

When the process is lost, there is good practice.
When good practice is lost, there are rules.
When rules are lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the beginning of chaos.

The architect concerns himself
with the depth and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.

The architect allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the design speak for itself.

The architect gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to leave,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions, no resistance in his mind.
He holds nothing back from the project,
therefore is ready for departure,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day's work.

The great way is easy,
yet programmers prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the design.

The architect's power is like this.
She lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
She never expects results;
thus she is never disappointed.
She is never disappointed;
thus her spirit never grows old.

Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.


Those who do not have a clue are still debating about the process.
Those who know just do it.

The architect is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose his will.
He is pointed but doesn't pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.

If you want to be a great leader,
stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts and
the team will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have,
the less disciplined the team will be.
The more you coerce,
the less secure the team will be.
The more external help you call,
the less self-reliant the team will be.

* Published in The Rational Edge

I had talked about the Portlet Container in WAS V6.0 here.

Now, this article examines the JSR 168 portlet container available in IBM® WebSphere® Application Server V6.1 and differentiates its use from IBM WebSphere Portal.

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