GCN Insider: Sit 'n' sew

Speaking of not reinventing the wheel, Interior Department chief technology officer Daud Santosa is bullish on using architectural references to simplify system development and procurement. Rather than build a software stack for each new service from scratch, the Interior CIO office uses architectural templates generated by IBM Corp.

Now, Interior may consult one of a number of reference architectures, or 'patterns' in IBM speak: Self Service (for creating interactive user-driven sites), Collaboration (for setting up collaborative workspaces), Information Aggregation (data warehousing) and Extended Enterprise (for connecting large-scale applications).

While most organizations face unique problems, at some point in their system design they usually need very similar sets of capabilities, said Grant Larsen, IBM senior technical staff member and chief architect. Hence the applicability of generic reference architectures. The IBM patterns (www.ibm. com/developerworks/patterns) are rendered in the Reusable Asset Specification format, which can be plugged into Eclipse and worked with through the Rational Software Architect, which also plugs into Eclipse.

Although IBM designed the architectures to help potential customers bridge business processes to specific IBM products, that doesn't mean they can't be used more openly. You could pluck out the IBM WebSphere application server and plop in BEA WebLogic instead. 'The essence of the pattern still holds,' Larsen admitted.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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