Australian Firm Calls on Perl for Telco Projects

Add telco services to the growing list of legacy systems that Perl can connect to, thanks in part to a software firm based in the farthest corner of the South Pacific.

Australia’s SkunkWorks focused on Perl and Linux to build its affordable appdev toolkit and engine for building and deploying telecom services.

SkunkWorks’ Whirlwind toolkit, which comes with the Telco Perl appdev engine, enables developers to use traditional Perl scripting skills to deliver a variety of enterprise-caliber telco services, including: voicemail play/record, fax, conference, text to speech, speech recognition, and even complex voice protocol conversions. The Perl-based system also supports all major providers of SS7 and VoIP solutions. Whirlwind also includes S.100 and VoiceXML interfaces. CPAN.org provides many plug-in modules for Perl to connect to third party and legacy systems. Examples of these modules are SMPP for SMS, DBI for database and LWP for web connectivity.

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New Money, New Code Keep PHP Marching in March

PHP is on the march in March.

In a sign that the marketplace sees lots of promise in PHP’s growth prospects, Zend has completed a new venture capital infusion of $6 million. The latest investment, from venture capital fund Index Ventures, together with previous investors Walden Israel and SFK Technologies, brings to $12 million the total of VC investments in Zend in less than six months, since November 2003. Isreali-based news service Globes Online reports that Zend may actually get $2-3 million more in funding before the round closes.

And as if to justify investors’ faith, the long-anticipated PHP5 First Release Candidate is finally for download from Zend. To get a closer look at PHP5, OET spoke with Zend’s co-founder and Zend Engine co-creator Zeev Suraski.

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Driving Enterprise Python – Patches, Plug-ins, Outlines

A number of enterprise devs had pushed Python’s state-of-the-art in the last few weeks. Notably, Python has a new patch for a particularly sneaky security vulnerability, better support for new logging modules and even an upgraded documentation tool and programmers’ editor.

In this Python wrap, OET provides devs a quick tour, links for code downloads, FAQs and forums.

Security — A buffer overflow in python 2.2’s getaddrinfo() function was discovered earlier this week by Sebastian Schmidt. If python 2.2 is built without IPv6 support, an attacker could configure their name server to let a hostname resolve to a special IPv6 address, which could contain a memory address where shellcode is placed. This problem does not affect python versions prior to 2.2 or versions 2.2.2+, and it also doesn’t exist if IPv6 support is enabled. . Python with the patch is available here. For more background on the problem, go to theMandrakeSoft Security Advisory

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Tips To Using PHP Templates: Inside Smarty

Templating has been gaining in popularity for years among web developers, especially those working on portals or business sites that may have their web pages tied in with complex business rules. Now those same benefits from templating are coming to PHP. This article, originally appearing at DotGeek.org, looks at Smarty, one of the leading PHP templating engines available.

Benefits of PHP Templating
Web design and programming are closely related and yet are very different. Designers speak in such languages as HTML and CSS, and programmers are often heard speaking in the tongues of PHP and SQL. Design focuses primarily on presentation logic, and programming focuses primarily upon business logic. Separating these processes in web development cycles helps to achieve rapid application development goals while providing for website maintainability.

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IBM, Novell Differ Over Linux Indemnity for Users

Even among those companies that favor Open Source Linux use, there are differences over just how much those companies need to do to protect their enterprise users from liability.

During last month’s LinuxWorld, it became clear that not all major Linux providers are on the same page when it comes to indemnifying customers against any fallout from SCO’s $3 billion still-pending Linux copyright infringement lawsuit.

Notably, IBM and Novell execs last months outlined their views on indemnifying customers against any fallout from SCO’s Linux lawsuit. IBM remains steadfast that the suit has no merit and looks to original Linux providers, including Red Hat, SuSE Linux AG, and others. Meanwhile, Novell execs say that despite what Linux vendors’ opinion of the lawsuit are, they need to assure prospective customers.

For his part, Novell CEO Jack Messman told attendees that Novell would protect customers under a limited indemnity program. Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner. Details of Novell’s program are available.

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Gosling: Unified Java Tool APIs May Take a Year

James Gosling, the renowned creator of Java, now has a new job at Sun: CTO of the Sun Developer Platform. In that role, he gave his first formal briefing to reporters, noting that the push by the Java Tools Committee to create a unified set of APIs for Java tools vendors could take a year or more.

When asked if Java IDEs might align their APIs by next January (2005), Gosling said, “I doubt we’ll have all the work done by next year at this time, but we should have a good road map for what needs to be done…A lot will depend on the consensus. Some of that will be technical and some of that will be political.” Gosling expects some heady issues will affect the timetable, and the outcome, of the push for a common API set for Java IDEs, including UI integration, metadata support and workflow issues — all currently under discussion at the Java Community Process.

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Linus Fields Dev Questions On the Future of Linux

Last month, Geekcruises’ Linux Lunacy cruise to Alaska proved that Linux and Open Source are hot enough topics to even warm up Northern waters. The feature of the trip was a candid Q&A; with Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Courtesy of GeekCruises Capt. Neil Bauman and Senior Editor of Linux Journal Doc Searles, OET brings our readers an extended transcript of Linus’ shipboard Q&A;, where he responds to Linux dev questions on the future of Linux, including the status of Linux 2.6, impacts from increasing corporate (and vendor) adoption, an ever-growing kernel, and even on the pending lawsuit from SCO.

Geekcruises Capt. Neil Bauman gets the ball rolling in our extended transcript.

Capt. Neil Bauman: In the last year or so, Linux has been embraced by a large number of established companies. You consider this a good thing, a bad thing? Are you happy? Sad?

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Open Source vs. Shared Source – Hunt for Value

Vendors are beginning to take a few pages from the Open Source playbook, offering devs more access to code and community for paid software. OET takes a look at the back-and-forth over the question of how much value “Shared Source” truly offers,

Microsoft is one of the more visible of a number of vendors (including Oracle, Sun, Macromedia, SAP, among others) that has emerged with a variant on the traditional tight-gripped license on software source code. These new “Shared Source” licenses for commercial products give developers much more access to code than ever before.

But, despite the move to adopt some Open Source principals of sharing and community, some core Open Source devs are speaking out against the moves as half-measures. Not surprisingly, Microsoft is aggressively defending its approach as a realistic balance between “free software” and “the need to protect intellectual property”.

Meanwhile, the average commercial developer working for a commercial company is stuck somewhere in the middle, wondering what is the real truth (or the real hype) behind the emerging Shared Source saga. OET takes a look at the concerns Open Source devs have over Shared Source, and how Microsoft is responding to criticisms, and in some areas, adjusting its program.

In a nutshell, shared source is a take-off on the open source model without all the benefits that open source offers. Shared source licenses do not allow developers to modify the source code and certain portions of the source code remain hidden and it cannot be redistributed.

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Tutorial: Apache Cocoon 2 Makes XML Sharing Easy

Cocoon 2, part of the Apache XML Project, is a highly flexible web publishing framework built from reusable components. Although reusability is an oft-touted quality of software frameworks, Cocoon stands out because of the simplicity of the interface between the components. Cocoon 2 uses XML documents, via SAX, as its inter-component API. As long as a component accepts and emits XML, it works.

In this Open Enterprise Trends hands-on tutorial on Cocoon 2, developers will get a full package, including:

  • (1) a well-versed Cocoon 2 overview,
  • (2) simple examples (complete with schematics and figures) on the inner workings of XML and Cocoon;

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PHP Gaining Momentum Among Commercial Developers

A growing number of commercial developers are discovering the merits of using PHP for important data sharing and integration projects. PHP is no longer limited to use on Apache Web servers or other Open Source code projects. It’s finding its way into the core toolkits of high-performance commercial developers.

Jason Sheets, team leader in the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet Firmware Development Laboratory, prefers PHP for Web-based technologies.

Why? Sheets says he prefers PHP because it does what he needs “to increase efficiency [and] accountability [and] decrease overhead with performance and usability in mind.” His first try with PHP — the automation of a cumbersome test-reporting procedure — was dramatically successful. His Web-based system slashed hours of daily manual work.

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OASIS Explores Protocol To Manage B2B Web Services

OASIS has taken on another massive project that could further define the role — and the architecture — of web services, this time in the B2B arena.

A new committee, called the OASIS Management Protocol Technical Committee, has set itself the task of defining a new inter-enterprise protocol that would enable developers and sysadmins to build, monitor and manage web services interactions between companies.

The scope of the project makes this protocol one of the most complicated ever, as committee members intend to empower the protocol to provide views and management controls to the entire life-cycle of a web services transaction or event. Topologically, this means the new protocol will need to provide views into network, application logic and even business logic elements of traffic. Committee members also intend to ensure the protocol supports more than one application model because the protocol is intended to support inter-enterprise (B2B) communications.

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Python Power: Growing Respect for an Open Source Integration Tool

Open-source software now plays a crucial role in the majority of large information technology (IT) organizations. It’s not the role you’d think, though, from popular descriptions of Open Source. .

When leaders such as Hostway Corp. and Journyx, Inc. talk about their use of Python, they’re not talking about the virtues of low licensing cost, or waging an ideological battle against Microsoft. Python actually provides them a strategic advantage by providing them a low-cost, easy-to-deploy tool for helping enterprise software systems to talk with one another. In fact, rather than thumbing their nose at Microsoft, these companies use Python to maximize the value of their Windows applications.

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Hands-On: Using Tcl as Application Glue for the Enterprise

You may know Tcl, and think of it as one of those “toy languages” that teenagers can pick up in less than an hour and make little GUI programs, chat scripts, and primitive Web pages. But Tcl is also finding broadening appeal among enterprise developers facing complex and costly integration projects, as an “industrial strength application glue”.

In the article below, we’ll explain more about Tcl’s use as “industrial-strength application glue,” and show you just how Tcl is becoming a not-so-secret-weapon for developers working on integration projects at such high-profile sites as Oracle, IBM, Cisco, NASA, TiVo, America OnLine, and even the CIA.

We’ll also show you how Tcl can be used by a broad spectrum of developers. Whether you’re working with Java, C#, C++, XML, Fortran or even SQL, Tcl may be able to offer some options because it has been written — and expanded upon — to talk to all these environments already.

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Usenix Report: Web Services Pushing JVMs into a New Age

The emerging use of Web services could drive some significant changes in the way Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) work, says Robert Berry, a distinguished engineer from IBM’s Hursley Park Java Technology Center.

Berry delivered the keynote address at this month’s Usenix Java Virtual Machine Symposium in San Francisco. He promptly set a futuristic tone by predicting the end of the age where JVMs can focus strictly on performance enhancements. The growing importance of Web services, Berry said, will call for JVMs to get smarter and more manageable.

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Will Apache 3.0 Sport Asynchronous I/O?

With Apache 2.0 four months past its stable release, developers are beginning to brainstorm the next steps for Apache — including drafting up a “wish list” for Apache 3.0 features, and mapping out a timeline for the release of upgraded features.

As Apache Software Foundation Chairman Roy Fielding told Open Enterprise Trends, “I’m sure there are lots of things that individuals are working on. [But] none of us will come out and say, ‘Well, this is going to be in Apache 3.0.'”

Fielding, even as he insists it’s a bit too early for a full Apache 3.0 feature list, is beginning to agree with other ASF contributors on the merits of adding at least one new feature to Apache — support for asynchronous I/O.

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Success Tips from SourceForge’s Top Open Source Admins

Open Source isn’t all about plotting the demise of Microsoft. In fact, it’s just the opposite. OETfound Successful projects work with the giants rather than cutting them off at the knees.

That’s only one of a number of surprising tips OET found when we conducted a series of interviews with the admins for the top Open Source projects on SourceForge to see what lessons these experts can offer to budding Open Source projects. Take a look at some other suggestions to help your project become the next hit.

Persistency Over Proprietary Solutions
Persistency challenged the Java Business Process Management (jBpm) project. J2EE’s built-in object relational mapper wasn’t powerful enough.

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Why Java Should Not Temper ColdFusionML Talents

A growing number of IT managers are being pressured to transition from using the open standard ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) to Java Server Pages (JSP) and servlets. In this article, we’ll look at why (and for what purposes) CFML, originally created by Macromedia, still excels over JSP.

One reason to leverage your CFML programmers? CFML may offer more features and performance than you might think. To put CFML into context for your enterprise development, first, let’s get our definitions straight.

CFML: Open Standard Language and Framework

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Top 10 Ways to Secure Open Source, Web Apps

A strong coalition of Open Source community leaders, under the umbrella of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), has released a valuable, thought-provoking report for all web application projects (including web integration and web services).

The OWASP’s “Ten Most Critical Web Application Security Vulnerabilities” is a detailed look at some of the most likely areas where web applications (XML, web services, Java-based application server) might suffer from security problems.

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OSCON Alert: OET wants to know if you or others in your firm are attending (Open Source Convention) in Portland, Ore. July 7-11. If you’ll be there, drop our editors a note to tell us what topic(s) you’re interested in, and if we can contact you about future stories looking at how devs are integrating Open Source into their web, Java, .NET and legacy systems. Email us at editor@oetrends.com. Thanks.

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