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Enterprise 1.0 – 2.0 Gap

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Mark Masterson highlights the need for Enterprise 2.0 to work with Enterprise 1.0:

    …This is interesting, and it addresses real concerns — in a brief conversation recently triggered by my post, a CSC CTO said to me that one of his biggest concerns is the potential for silos of information that are (but shouldn’t be) isolated from one another. In other words, he’s just as concerned about there being useful information in some blog or wiki, that some Enterprise 1.0 user needs but can’t get access to, as the other way around. The BEA software looks to be aimed at solving the Enterprise 1.0 –>> Enterprise 2.0 gap, and not the other way around. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that people are thinking about this.

Fear not, Mark. We’re trying to get it right this time.

No Enterprise 2.0 company in their right mind would want to be an island, no matter the paradise. Most of us began working on interop even when our own apps were half-baked. RSS, Atom and other ad hoc standards proliferated.

But while we make an effort to work with existing enterprise architecture (e.g. Socialpoint), we’ll stay on the side of the web. Because the web as a platform compounds innovation that eventually makes itself into legacy architecture. Just look at the amount of enterprise applications leveraging RSS and Ajax. This morning I came across a funny way to describe this, in an intro to a new book about REST:

    There are lots of books about Big Web Services: complex distributed-object systems that reproduce the mechanics of method calls over HTTP. The problem is 1) these systems are way too big for what they do, and 2) they’re on the web but they aren’t of the web. They don’t use any of the web’s features, or interact with anything else on the web. They just use HTTP as a transport protocol. They could just as easily run over TCP and get better performance.

    These un-weblike systems were able to take the name “Web Services” away from the competition because the competition is… the web. Just writing programs that interact with the web. Sounds pretty sketchy! The web may be all right as a platform for serving movies, or selling books, or trading stocks, or democratizing publishing, or coordinating huge volunteer projects, or searching much of the information currently in existence, but there’s no way it’s up to the task of managing Accounts Payable! For that you need… Web Services!

    As Big Web Services gathered steam, the pro-web forces rallied behind the banner of REST: a name for the design philosophy that made the human-visible web so successful. They preached simplicity, addressability, statelessness and the uniform interface of HTTP. They also got into lots of heated arguments about what REST really meant.

    Some organizations created services that claimed to be RESTful, and others critiqued those services and said they weren’t RESTful really, and is “RESTful” even a word? Meanwhile the world’s programmers started finding options in their IDEs that generated code for Big Web Service clients and servers, so they wouldn’t have to do so much programming.

    …”Speaking of Ajax, did you know that an Ajax application is basically a REST web service client that runs in your web browser?”

It should be noted we are also plugging the gaps that Enterprise 1.0 missed. As an aside in the Shameless Plug department, Socialtext 2.0 was released as Open Source on Sourceforge this weekend, and as you tinker, here is the REST documentation.

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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.

Enterprise 1.0 – 2.0 Gap
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