Understanding Web Services Distributed Management

The Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) standard offers a way for you to publicize and manage machines and web services using web services and associated technologies. If you’re confused by that statement then you probably need to read my new tutorial, Understand Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM).Here’s the abstract:

Management through Web services simplifies the numerous interfaces and solutions that provide management tools for network-attached systems and devices. These range from simple printers to more complex operating system management issues. The Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) standard defines two different environments, Management Using Web Services (MUWS) and Management of Web Services (MOWS), that define the structure and environment required to support these systems. This tutorial looks in detail at the definition and implementation issues of WSDM and how you can use WSDM within grid environments for the management of grids and grid services.

Read on for the full Understand Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) tutorial.

Rickford Grant, Linux Made Easy

Getting users to try Linux is only half the battle. The other half is showing them what they can achieve when using it. Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant uses a task based approach to show how you can use Linux to perform your daily tasks; email, browsing, letter writing, even scanning and printing are covered in detail. I spoke to Rickford Grant about the book, why he chose Xandros and how the look and feel of the computing environment are more important to acceptance than the name on the box.

The book highlights how easy it is to do your everyday tasks – email, writing letters, scanning documents – using Linux. How key do you think this is to the wider adoption of Linux? I can’t help but think that it is extremely important. Until now, the image of Linux has been of a system for people on the geekier side of the compu-user spectrum, and I’d say the majority of books out there on the subject bear this out with their focus on networks, commands, and so on.One of the reasons I wrote my first book, ‘Linux for Non-Geeks,’ and now ‘Linux Made Easy,’ was that most of the Linux books out there are so focused on that more geekish facet of Linux that it was hard to imagine a mere mortal having any reason to use Linux, let alone being able to do so. They certainly had that effect on me when I first got started.

Linux Made Easy, Rickford Grant

Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant is a companion to his original Linux for Non-geeks. Where the two differ is that this book is about how easy Linux can be for performing a myriad of tasks using a simple, skill-based approach. In this book, Rickford describes how to use Linux to do what you need to do: web browsing, sending email, basic document creation and using external peripherals like your printer, USB flash drive and scanner. In short, this book is about using Linux, from the perspective of ‘Your Average Joe’.The book covers, and indeed includes, Xandros Open Circulation Edition, a Debian based distribution that just happens to include a number of key components for the target market, including OpenOffice, a key part of the toolkit required by many users to provide word processing and spreadsheet facilities.

The contentsIn consideration of the target audience the book is a meaty, but not imposing, 450 pages making it look both substantial enough to keep potential readers interested and yet not so large as to make them think twice about buying a ‘professional’ book.

Improved application development: Part 5, Testing and verifying with Rational tools

The fifth and final piece to the Improved Application Development series is now available. This one looks at testing your application before the next phase of development or release. Here’s the abstract:

Testing is a vital part of any development process, and to perform adequate testing you need not only to identify faults but also to trace and track these faults, fixes, and the components they affect during each iteration of the development process. In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the integration between the IBM Rational software testing products and other tools used in the development process, such as IBM Rational RequisitePro, IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software, and IBM Rational ClearQuest.

The full article is on the IBM DeveloperWorks site. Again, for a recap, you’ll want to read the rest of the series in sequence before you get to this one:

  1. Improved application development: Part 1, Collating requirements for an application
  2. Improved application development: Part 2, Developing solutions with Rational Application Developer
  3. Improved application development, Part 3: Incorporating changes in requirement
  4. Improved application developerment: Part 4, Part 4: Building a Web client

Peter Wainwright, Pro Apache

Apache has been a stalwart of the Internet for some time. Not only is it well known as a web serving platform, but it also forms a key part of the LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-Perl/Python/PHP) and is one of the best known open source projects. Getting an Apache installation right though can be tricky. In Pro Apache, Peter Wainwright hopes to help readers by using a task, rather than feature based, approach. I spoke to Peter about Apache, its supported platforms, the competition from IIS and his approach to writing such a mammoth tome.

Inflammatory questions first – Unix or Windows for Apache?Unix. To be more precise, BSD, then Linux, then almost anything else (e.g., commercial Unixes), then Windows — if you must.The usual technical arguments and security statistics against using Windows are readily available from a number of sources, so let me give a rather different perspective: it seems Microsoft was in discussion to buy Claria, creators of Gator (one of the more annoying strains of adware that infest Windows desktops). Coincidentally, Microsoft’s beta ‘AntiSpyware’ tool recently downgraded Claria’s products from quarantine to ignore. It seems that the deal fell through, but for reasons of bad PR rather than any concern for the customer. Call me cynical if you like, but I see little reason to place my faith in a closed-source operating system when the vendor is apparently willing to compromise the security of its customers for its own business purposes. Yes, plenty of us already knew that, but this is an example even non-technical business managers can grasp.

Improved application development, Part 4: Building a Web client

Part 4 of the Improved Application Development series, which covers a development from end-to-end using Rational tools is now available. Written by Nate Schutta, it concentrates on extending the application to work on the web, using the powerful features of the Rational environment to make the developed as quick and easy as possible. Here’s the intro blurb:

In this tutorial, you’ll return to the Auction application that you developed in Part 2. You’ll add functionality to what you developed previously and connect to your entity beans via a Web-based front end. You’ll take advantage of leading-edge technologies like JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) to create a dynamic Web project — and, thanks to IBM Rational Application Developer’s powerful Web design features, you’ll hardly have to touch the keyboard.

Click on for the full tutorial.The story so far:

  1. Improved application development: Part 1, Collating requirements for an application
  2. Improved application development: Part 2, Developing solutions with Rational Application Developer
  3. Improved application development, Part 3: Incorporating changes in requirement

Improved application development, Part 3: Incorporating changes in requirement

The next article in the Improve application development series is now up at the IBM site. This follows on from Part 2, written by Nate Schutta, and moves on to managing the project now that the application is being developed and the you start getting faults and change requests into the system that need to be tracked and monitored. The main focus here then is the Rational ClearQuest system and it integrates with the other tools you’ll use in the process, including the original RequisitePro and the new Rational Application Developer and Rational Software Modeler tools.Remember, these later tools are based on the Eclipse platform and that means that the interfacing code is written as a plug-in to the Eclipse environment. Here’s the intro description:

The focus of this third tutorial in the “Improved application development” series is on change management. This tutorial shows how individual change requests are linked and traced back to the original requirements specification, how you manage that information from within your development environment, and how you generate a new specification.

You can read the full tutorial.As a recap, this tutorial follows on from:Improved application development: Part 1, Collating requirements for an applicationandImproved application development: Part 2, Developing solutions with Rational Application Developer

From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

Note: This review was originally published in Free Software Magazine

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell. From the basic command line interaction through to the more complex processes of programming, it touches on file pattern matching and command line completion along the way.The contentsShells are complicated – how do you start describing working with a shell without first describing how the shell works, and don’t you show them how to use it by doing so? The book neatly covers this problem in the first chapter with what must be the best description of a shell and how the interaction works that I’ve ever read.

Eric S Raymond, Deb Cameron, Bill Rosenblatt, Marc Loy, Jim Elliott, Learning GNU Emacs 3ed

GNU Emacs has been the editor of choice for many users for many years. Despite new operating systems, environments and applications, emacs still has a place in the toolbox for both new and old users. I talked to the authors of Learning GNU Emacs, Third Edition: Eric S Raymond, Deb Cameron, Bill Rosenblatt, Marc Loy, and Jim Elliott about the emacs religion, nervous keyboard twitches and whether emacs has a future in an increasingly IDE driven world.

Well, I guess the answer to the age-old geek question of ’emacs’ or ‘vi’ is pretty much covered with this book?Jim Elliott (JJE): We pretty much start with the assumption that people picking up the book want to know about Emacs. I had fun following the flame wars for a while a decade ago, but we’ve moved on. Some of my best friends and brightest colleagues swear by vi.Bill Rosenblatt (BR): I try not to get involved in theological arguments.Deb Cameron (DC): Like all religious questions, you can only answer that for yourself.Eric S. Raymond (ESR): Oh, I dunno. I think we sidestepped that argument rather neatly.Marc Loy (ML): I think the other authors have chimed in here, but this book “preaches to the choir.” We don’t aim to answer that religious debate. We just want to help existing converts! Of course I think emacs! but I’m a bit biased.Could you tell me how you (all) got into using emacs?ESR: I go back to Gosling Emacs circa 1982 — it was distributed with the variant of 4.1BSD (yes, that was 4.*1*) we were using on our VAX. I was ready for it, having been a LISP-head from way back.

Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith

Note: This review was originally published in Free Software Magazine

Linux in Windows World aims to solve the problems experienced by many system administrators when it comes to using Linux servers (and to a lesser extent clients) within an existing Windows environment. Overall the book is meaty and a quick flick through shows an amazing amount of information has been crammed between the covers. There are though some immediately obvious omissions, given the books title and description, but I’m hoping this won’t detract from the rest of the content.The contentsThe book starts off with a look at where Linux fits into a Windows network, covering its use both as a server and desktop platform. Roderick makes some salient points and arguments here, primarily for, rather than against, Linux but he’s not afraid to point out the limitations either. This first section leads on to a more in depth discussion of deploying a Linux system into your network, promoting Linux in a series of target areas – email serving, databases and so on – as well as some strategies for migrating existing Windows desktops to Linux.