Monday, September 29, 2008

FTP = HTTP GET ftp://...

Today I was in for a surprise: at a customer I was investigating how to reach an FTP server outside their firewall. From within my browser I could easily reach the FTP server with the URL, thereby going through the FTP/HTTP proxy.

But when I tried to do the same with FileZilla, the free FTP client, I couldn't access the FTP server. Ultimately I did some sniffing using WireShark. And to my surprise, the browser was talking HTTP tot the proxy, no FTP on the wire! I noticed the HTTP request "HTTP GET ftp://..." being sent to the proxy. And FTP listings coming back, formatted as HTML!

So learned a new thing: "FTP over HTTP" !

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DeVoxx conference

DeVoxx is the new name of the Javapolis conference. DeVoxx is the Java conference taking place in Antwerp, Belgium. The conference location is a large movie theatre, close to where I live. Last year, Javapolis, eh DeVoxx had 3000+ attendees.

I'm very pleased with the new logo and very curious to know what the T-shirts will look like!

PS: as a member of the DeVoxx steering committe, I try to find interesting speakers for the SOA track

Thursday, September 4, 2008

XQuery or XSLT?

An important part of every ESB is transformation. Most ESB's use an XML representation internally. Non-XML messages are first converted to an XML representation and vice-versa. The conversion between non-XML and XML representations can become a challenge (and transformation) in itself.

The main transformation logic in (most) ESB's thus becomes XML-2-XML. Most ESB's use XLST for transformation (BizTalk, IBM ESB, Tibco BW, Oracle SOA, ...). And most commercial integration tools still use XSLT 1.0.

But there is another XML standard technology that can be used for transformations: XQuery. The only 'big' player in the integration world supporting XQuery is BEA AquaLogic. Obviously, the ESB's such as Mule or WSO2 ESB provide XQuery support as wll.

Regardless of the big discussions on XSLT vs. XQuery, I think XQuery would be a very welcome addition in the toolset of integration developers. Adding an XQuery transformation component in the palette of building blocks can't be that hard.

The IDE support for XQuery is obviously more complex. Development of XML assets such as XML Schema's and XSLT transformation is better supported in 3rd party XML tools anyway.

PS: haven't used it yet, but the XQuery support in StylusStudio looks as good as their XSLT support