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Intergen Smarts 9 (2005)


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Intergen's newsletter, Smarts, now available for online reading.

Intergen provides information technology solutions across Australia, New Zealand and the world based exclusively on Microsoft’s tools and technologies.

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Intergen Smarts 9 (2005)

  1. 1. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 2 Ed has recently returned to New Zealand after spending five years working for Microsoft in Redmond. Ed worked for Glazier Systems between 1995 and 1998 so it is great to have him back. Intergen is continuing to lead the way with integration projects using BizTalk Server. We have now completed several projects for clients integrating their ERP with the Foodstuffs B2B interface. We are also starting to use BizTalk more in the SOA projects we are undertaking. Adam and Nikolai have been selected to attend Microsoft "Deep Dive" training for BizTalk Server in Australia. The training covers advanced topics for experienced BizTalk developers. We have recently released a totally new version of our web site. The new site is hosted on EPiServer and is a major update to the way Intergen is represented on the Internet. A big thank you to the Creative Team who put in a lot of extra hours to design and implement the new look. As part of out new web site we have improved our careers section. We have a number of positions that we are trying to fill. If you know of a person who you think would enjoy the challenges that Intergen offers please refer them to I hope you enjoy this edition of SMARTS and, as always, if you want more information about any of the articles feel free to email the author directly or email me. The Intergen team have had a busy start to the year with a number of new projects underway, four new graduate trainees and a couple of conference papers delivered. The EPiServer Content Management System that we launched late last year has exceeded our expectations. We currently have four significant implementations underway spread between our Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices. It has proven to be a worthy addition to our content management offering alongside Microsoft Content Management Server. We have expanded our specialist CMS team to cope with the additional EPiServer work on top of our Microsoft CMS projects. We have delivered papers at two conferences over the past month. Paul Quirk spoke at the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) conference on our experiences completing quite a large number of development projects using the SOA approach. Ed Robinson also delivered a paper at the Portal Management Conference. I S S U E N I N E >> HOT NEWS: >> T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E Ready, steady... < Copyright 2005 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > CMS Team SECURITY >> 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >> TECHNICAL >> CREATIVE >> CONSULTING AND CONFERENCES ISSP >> UPDATE >> >> EPiServer success. World famous in Scandinavia, now in New Zealand. We’re thrilled with the take up of EPiServer Content Management System since we launched it late last year. So far we have signed up a range of public and private organisations and we’ve renewed our own web site using the EPiserver technology. EPiServer is the most widely used web publishing tool in Scandinavia, with over 1150 sites. What makes EPiServer so good is that it caters to the needs of technical staff in regard to security, performance and expandability but it is a web publishing tool for simple and swift handling of information on intranets, extranets and public web sites. For more details see:
  2. 2. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 3 Surf safely – how to secure your home PC >> INTERGENITE: < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E >>> S E C U R I T Y>>2 Keeping your home PC 100% secure from hackers and viruses is virtually impossible. But don’t despair, there is a lot you can do to keep your PC secure which is free, simple and gives 99% protection. T h e t h r e a t s : >> Viruses/Trojans/Worms: small programmes that replicate through email or the network >> Spyware: many free programmes install spyware and adware when you download them. This software monitors your surfing habits, generates extra pop-up ads and sends information to the spyware vendor. It slows your machine and internet connection down. >> Intruders: people trying to hijack your internet connection or access your files via the internet. The best way to guard against these threats is to ‘protect the perimeter’, ie the internet connection. Think of it as locking the doors to your car. Here are eight steps for doing this: 1 Use Windows XP, with Service Pack 2 and apply security updates as they are released. Windows XP is the most secure version of windows. Service pack 2 turns off unnecessary services and includes a firewall, pop-up ad blocker for internet explorer, checks virus signatures, and has automatic ‘set and forget’ detection and download of security updates. 2 Run antivirus software and keep it up to date. Any of the big three: Symantec, McAfee or Computer Associates eTrust are good. I use eTrust at home – it has the best performance and a 12 month free trial. All these products update their list of ‘virus signatures’ automatically from the web. Nick Urry What do you do? I’m a developer for the Development and Integration team. The majority of my work has been in the content management space, with experience in both Microsoft Content Management server and EPiServer products. How do you make a difference? With over five years experience in web development I have had the opportunity to work with many different technologies on a range of projects. I believe it is this experience that helps me continually strive to improve the way we are doing things. What do you love about your job? Since joining Intergen I have learnt many new skills, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed but with an expectation to produce real quality in the work we do. It is this culture that makes Intergen a really great place to work. A bit about yourself Outside of work I am heavily involved with the Scout Association and spend much of my spare time in the outdoors, sailing, tramping and camping. Any time I have left I have been spending on studying for some Microsoft qualifications, though it is easy to get distracted by a good book. 3 Anti-spyware software. The industry leaders are Ad-Aware and SpyBot. Neither detects all Spyware so use both. I run both weekly – it takes about an hour. 4 Do some research before downloading software. Installing new software is like handing over the keys to your car to a stranger. The biggest danger is spyware. If the software download comes from a vendor I trust, like Microsoft, Apple or Macromedia, I install it. If not, I search on which includes editorial reviews and details of which software includes spyware. If I can’t find it on, I don’t install it. 5 Be cautious of P2P file-sharing services, like Morpheus, Grokster, Kazaa. Most of these are laden with spyware and are the first places that virus writers post new viruses. 6 Don’t trust emails attachments. Many viruses are spread through email. A good rule is if someone emails you an unexpected attachment, be cautious. 7 Run a firewall. This closes unnecessary access points into your computer. One comes free with Windows XP. 8 If you run a wireless network use WEP or WPA: these are encryption mechanisms bundled with most wireless routers that prevent people from connecting to your wireless network, using your internet connection, and accessing files. These steps will protect your computer from most threats, although it is impossible to get 100% security. I also use one other simple, but powerful, technique. I turn my computer off when I’m not using it – bad guys can’t launch an internet attack on your computer when it isn’t turned on. Ed Robinson works in the Professional Services division at Intergen and can be contacted at He is the author of: Upgrading Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic .NET and Security for Visual Basic .NET Both available from Microsoft Press. Some useful links: Service Pack 2 for Windows XP Computer Associates eTrust free 12 month trial LavaSoft’s Ad-Aware: SpyBot Search-and-destroy Dictionary of spyware
  3. 3. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 4 < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E > >>3>> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S This is where Microsoft BizTalk Server (BTS) 2004 fits into the picture. BTS is perfectly designed to fit with the four tenets of SOA: >> Boundaries are explicit: BTS passes defined messages between applications. >> Services are autonomous: BTS’s publish/ subscribe methodology ensures each application is independent. BizTalk Server 2004 Delivers on SOA Dream Service Oriented Architecture is a phrase that is getting a lot of buzz in technology circles, so much so that Microsoft XML architect Don Box (who proposed the four tenets of SOA) is suggesting that the term is so over used that the software industry is attempting to invent or recycle some equally vague term to replace it. SOA is not a new concept, yet it was not until the advent of web services that technology caught up to allow businesses to realise the SOA vision. The concept is simple; instead of building one big ‘black box’ application, the applications are broken up into smaller ‘black box’ services. These smaller services are then aggregated into a larger complete solution. If the business needs change the affected service can be extended or swapped with a new one. Gartner VP Roy Schulte said “Agility generally involves event-driven business practices, facilitated by service-oriented architectures.” He used a great analogy to describe SOA. “Changing a truck’s direction is easier than making a train go where the tracks don’t.” When solutions are developed using SOA it can be challenging to aggregate the smaller services back into a complete business solution. In BTS messages are received and sent via an adapter. Some examples of BTS adapters include (EDI, FILE, SOAP, HTTP, FTP, SAP, SQL and SHAREPOINT). Messages pass into BTS through a receive pipeline for pre-processing. The receive pipeline can take a raw inbound message, decode and decrypt it, disassemble it into parts and then translate it into an internal XML format. A business process, like an ordered sequence of operations, is invoked on top of the messaging operations. In BTS business processes are implemented using the orchestration and business rules engines. Business rules are contained inside versioned policies and provide a business analyst with an easy-to-read view of the rules that are used in the business process. Orchestrations can be easily exposed as web services and also consume other web services or orchestrations. Messages pass out of BTS through a send pipeline for post-processing. The send pipeline can take an XML file, convert it into the outbound format (XML/EDI/Flat file), aggregate it into a batch and encrypt it to create an outbound message. In summary, BTS is the most service-oriented product that Microsoft ships. With the advances in web service technology SOA is not just a good idea it is a reality. Without entering into a messaging verses object debate, BTS is about messages and agile development, the pretext for all successful business process. That has got to be good for the enterprise. So how does it all work? BTS Logical Server architecture: >> Services share schema and contract, not class: BTS is message-based. There are defined schemas which are shared between applications. >> Service compatibility is based on policy: BTS uses policies to route messages between services. Metadata is used to describe expected message formats. Information such as transport and security requirements is decoupled from the services themselves. BIZTALK Publish and Subscribe Message INBOUND MESSAGE RECEIVE PORT OUTBOUND MESSAGE <XML MESSAGE> Adapter Receive Pipeline Decode Disassemble BUSINESS PROCESS Business Rules Engine Orchestrations Validate Party Resolution <XML MESSAGE> <XML MESSAGE> <XML MESSAGE> SEND PORT Adapter Send Pipeline Preassemble Assemble Encode
  4. 4. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:50 AM Page 5 T h e W S - * s t a n d a r d s a r e : WS-Security – one problem with the web was that it exposed your business data to the internet but didn’t secure that data. WS-Security is a set of specifications built on existing X509 and Public Key Infrastructure standards to provide end- to-end security and message encryption. WS-Addressing – this standard provides a transport neutral mechanism that moves information from the HTTP layer into the message. It identifies a web service like an IP address identifies a computer on the network. This provides flexibility in transport choice and futureproofing for new transport technologies. WS-Policy – all web services have a set of requirements that must be met by a service consumer. WS-Policy provides a standard way to document those requirements. The policy is automatically enforced and validated, reducing the amount of code developers need to write. WS-Coordination – the loosely aligned nature of web services requires frameworks for managing transactions across applications. This standard provides support for atomic, commit and rollback transactions as well as long running transactions that may span hours or days. Microsoft provides support for a set of the WS-* standard in Web Service Enhancements 2.0 (WSE 2.0) which allows developers to create web services that adhere to the standards. A major innovation on the horizon is Indigo. Indigo is not a replacement of web services but a progression towards a service-oriented world in which web services play a major role. It unifies the technologies being used in developing connected applications into a single programming model. Indigo provides support for advanced web services to allow for the creation of secure, reliable and transacted messaging and interoperability. Mark Delaney What do you do? I am a graphic designer specialising in visual interface and interaction design of web sites and applications. How do you make a difference? A web site needs to not only be enjoyable to visit but usable as well. My job is to create appealing and engaging interfaces that interact with the intended audience that are effective, whether for a corporate intranet or an online retail website. What do you love about your job? I love the people and the opportunity to work on interesting projects. Being paid to do something you have a passion for ain’t that bad either! A bit about yourself I graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Arts and a post- graduate diploma in graphic design and joined the Intergen team in 2002. Since then I have accumulated a vast amount of experience in interaction design. It’s what I do every day. Design is not just a job but a way of life for me. Outside of work I love art, architecture, fashion, music, reading and keeping fit at the gym. WS Up?! In each edition of SMARTS we update you on a technical matter. In this issue we tell you about the standards that regulate web services. Web services such as XML, SOAP, WSDL, HTTP and UDDI are the cornerstone of the web. They’ve been used in many, many organisations. However, their lack of enterprise level capabilities such as security, transaction support and guaranteed and reliable messaging has limited their usefulness. To get these enterprise capabilities, additional technology or custom development has been needed, such as BizTalk Server for reliable messaging or custom security models for message encryption. To bridge the gap between the cornerstone web services and the additional capabilities that businesses need, web service standards have been developed. They are commonly referred to as WS-*. Two organisations are responsible for the creation and implementation of web service standards: World Wide Consortium (W3C) – responsible for XML, XSLT, SOAP, HTML, HTTP; and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) which is responsible for PKI, ebXML and many of the new WS Standards. A third body, Web Service Interoperability (WS-I), provides best practices, tools and sample applications that ensure cross platform interoperability of the standards provided by W3C and OASIS. These organisations are independent, and partly funded through memberships fees. They are responsible for maintaining internet and e-business standards. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E >>>4 >> T E C H N I C A L >> INTERGENITE:
  5. 5. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 6 >> C R E A T I V E >>5< S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E >
  6. 6. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 7 < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E >>>6 >> C O N S U L T I N G A N D C O N F E R E N C E S More than hot air There is probably no typical consulting engagement but here’s how the professional services team worked with the Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Office (CCO). The challenge was to undertake a business and technical analysis and other requirements for the proposed New Zealand Carbon Accounting System (NZCAS). This initiative has received significant impetus as the CCO shoulders New Zealand’s new responsibilities for carbon reporting following the finalisation of the Kyoto Protocol. The three-month project included wide consultation with current producers and analysts of New Zealand carbon sequestration data – Landcare Research, Forest Research, Agriquality and Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. It resulted in a recommendation about data collection, storage and analysis which will now be piloted to test assumptions and feasibility. Watch out for more details in future editions. The forum focused on the changing landscape in business and IT architecture with four keynote addresses and many interactive breakout sessions. The business theme discussed the evolution of enterprise architecture, driven by the pressure to respond to a more interactive business environment, and an increase in collaboration between workers. Today businesses are facing new challenges in keeping agile with the market. The older process-driven models were discussed as slow to adapt with favour been given to domain-driven models. The IT theme was service orientation and connected systems. Service orientation provides an abstracted view of the functions delivered to an enterprise, and defines the contract between a service and consumer to enable pieces of larger systems to be snapped together and swapped out as an enterprise evolves those systems. Technologies such as web services and the WS-* standards now allow these services to be connected together in a secure and reliable way, robust for the demands of a business. Both of these themes were seen to be converging with service orientation supporting the new needs of business to be responsive to change both in working with new partners and responding to internal changes and systems; and to quicken the evolution of systems to meet new business needs. Intergen is a leader in the field of Service Oriented Architecture, and can provide strategic and architectural consulting as well as development services to help evolve your enterprise architecture. Watch on evolving architecture Jeremy Boyd was recently invited to attend the Microsoft Asia Pacific Regional Architects Forum in Brisbane, Australia. The forum is a gathering of lead architects and CTO/CIO’s from customers and partners across the Asia Pacific region.
  7. 7. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:44 AM Page 8 >> INTERGENITE: Adam Green What do you do? I work in the Auckland Development & Integration team as a team leader. As well as participating in the day to day development of systems using a range of Microsoft technologies, I oversee the architecture of a lot of the systems we build. How do you make a difference? I help identify and implement ways in which we can build better solutions. This sounds simple, but successful solutions consist of many facets – performance, security, extensibility, scalability and reliability. And most of all, building a system that suits the needs of the customer. I want to see us become world solution providers this year. What do you love about your job? I love being part of a fun, motivated, intelligent and hard working team of people who genuinely believe in the solutions they build. A bit about yourself After hours I spend lots of time with my three year old son Mitchell. He’s a barrel of laughs and always keen to help around the garden. He has a lot more tools and garden implements than I do. >> I S S P < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E > >>7 Yet despite this seemingly dire portfolio, the major economies and markets continue to be bullish, if a little volatile. At the same time, information technology and communication price performance improvement is relentless. The 21st century is forecast to deliver 20,000 years of technology change at today’s rate of progress. Be it robotics, biotechnology or nanotechnology, the speed of lifestyle and business style change will be (and already is) profound. Countries and companies will succeed or fail in this highly competitive, connected and globalised world. The outcome will be decided by their ability to rapidly and continuously innovate, reinvent and adapt. And even the most basic service innovation will require information technology mastery. Mobility, security, content, web services, ERP, skills availability, business imperatives – the Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) role is increasingly central. Driving IT operational excellence for the organisation is now a minimum competency. Where the fast-paced flow of information has become the life blood of all business, the CIO is ideally positioned to be strategist, opportunity translator and innovation change agent. Break a leg! CIO innovator change agents in a volatile world The world is experiencing an unsettling raft of geopolitical and economic disruption such as: >> Religious and political turbulence and uncertainty in the Middle East >> More nuclear-armed nations >> Crude oil regularly surpassing US$50 per barrel >> China growing and consuming at double-digit growth rates as the planet’s low cost factory >> Unfettered import demand from US consumers driving the US trade imbalance upwards at US$60 billion per month. To both become, and be accepted as an effective innovation change agent, the CIO needs to start with two programmes: 1 Identify emerging trends and disruptions: as change accelerates, it’s critical to regularly scan for, and identify rapidly forming industry and IT industry opportunities and disruptions. 2 Reposition IT as value: through regular presentations and discussions shift the executive mental model from IT as a cost to be contained, to IT as strategic investment and business value enabler.
  8. 8. INT Smarts 9_2 6/4/05 9:24 AM Page 1 >> U P D A T E < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E N I N E > F i n d o u t m o r e a b o u t I n t e r g e n : Auckland: 09 966 3070 Wellington: 04 472 2021 Christchurch: 03 964 0017 We’re curious, why did the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives go to the effort to write an Information System Strategic Plan (ISSP)? We had reached a stage where we were running many different projects and applications and needed to consider the way we were operating and priorities for development. Looking to the future we needed to consider what comes first and what implications does changing one thing have on others. So we needed a plan. You selected Intergen to help you with your plan. What convinced you that this was a good choice? We were looking for people to deal with the technical challenge but who also could understand the organisational dynamics. Plus we had worked with them before and could see that they had the right staff to work with in this area. We know that the plan laid out a number of strategies to help the Office of the Clerk. Were their any particular strategies which stood out in your mind? The strategic approach (looking at what was best) was something that we valued rather than a bottom up approach (trying to fit what was there into something for the future). The output is outlined in eight central themes which are being followed up by individual tactical plans. Any last thoughts about the exercise you went through? Would you recommend this kind of ‘introspection’ for other organisations? I cannot see how an organisation can manage without doing it. The complexity and formality can vary but going off the top of your head is not acceptable. The size of our organisation means that we are too small for a dedicated planning resource so we needed to bring in a skilled outside resource for a short period which had an appreciation of our organisation and its environment. Using external experts you get new ideas and a fresh perspective on things. We hope that in the future the ISSP can be reviewed in house with Intergen used to critique and challenge the review. The Intergen Twilight Seminars are casual late afternoon sessions that inform you about current trends, technologies and initiatives in the space where business and information technology overlap. The seminars include an interactive presentation followed by questions, drinks and nibbles. They are presented by topic experts either from within Intergen or from one of our business partners. They are not sales oriented but designed to inform, educate and initiate discussion. Guests are welcome to stay around for a drink and discussion with the presenters and other attendees. To be added to the Twilight Seminar invitation contact list please email, or call Kelly on 04 472 2021. Fail to plan and you plan to fail The Office of the Clerk has been a client of Intergen for some time and when they recognised the need to have some external expertise help them evaluate and plan their IT services they turned to Intergen. Peter Carr, Manager Corporate Services talks with SMARTS: Twilights