Tuesday Nov 01, 2005

Ping-pong in Monrovia

They are going to have a party for us former SeeBeyonders here in Monrovia tomorrow. The office of our former CEO, Jim Demetriades, is being turned into a kind of conference room / rec center for us. Mark Bauhaus is supposed to attend, and it should be fun.

I was walking by the room, and saw that they had brought in a Ping-pong table. Two of our guys from China, Bing Lu and Kevin Kao, were playing a fierce game. I had always heard that Ping-pong is big in China, but I was skeptical. Then I saw that both Bing and Kevin had brought their own paddles, in custom cases. Uh-oh. If you come to Monrovia, don't get involved in any Ping-pong games for money.

Friday Oct 28, 2005

Sun SeeBeyond Products - eView(TM) Studio

I thought you might like to hear about the SeeBeyond products, now known collectively as the Sun Java Integration Suite. I'll start with my own beloved product, eView(TM) Studio. eView Studio is actually a platform for building a rather specialized type of application known as a master index. More generally, it falls under a statistical discipline known as record linkage. Suppose you are a telco, with a wireless division, a land line division and an internet service provider. There is a customer called Dave Todd in one, a customer called David Todd in another, and a customer called David Lee Todd in the last one. Do these entities represent the same person?

You use eView Studio to build a master index application that is capable of linking these three records together probabilistically. Once you use the studio to define the object to be indexed ( here a person), it generates a full-blown indexing application, including database tables, a multi-page GUI, and pre-built SQL queries. The heart of it is a "matching engine," a black box that I can only describe as being run by voodoo, that is able to evaluate the individual fields in the various records and decide how well they match on a fuzzy basis. It assigns a higher or lower score depending on the degree of sameness. Pretty slick, I must say.

What does this have to do with business integration? A lot, actually. Once the index has built itself, if the landline system wants to send a message to the wireless system about David Todd, it can send the message through the eView application, where Dave Todd's wireless ID number will be converted to David Todd's landline ID number before the message is sent on to the landline system.

Sun folks, feel free to email me with questions about eView Studio. It's one of my favorite subjects. ;-)  I will be giving thumbnail sketches of the other SeeBeyond products from time to time.

Wednesday Oct 26, 2005

Amusing SeeBeyond Tidbits - Lisp

Did you know that one of the two working languages at SeeBeyond used to be a variant of Lisp? It was called Monk, after the idea that medieval monks passed messages from one generation to the next in their work as scribes. Monk was used as the scripting language in version 3, and in version 4, although it was optional in 4, since Java could also be used. It was only in version 5, where we are now, that Monk disappeared.


It was said that Lisp's recursive structure made it ideal for parsing messages. In fact, SeeBeyond got a patent on this idea, which was largely implemented by old-time crusty Unix/Lisp guy Lealon Watts, who regularly rode his bicycle 20 miles to work each way.

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