As it says on the box…


…the cards for the Information On Demand 2009 conference arrived today! Hopefully they should help people pick out the best sessions for their agenda, and get more people to join other MDM Workbench developers at our developerWorks space.


Pic and Mix

Unfortunately decorating the bathroom is higher up the to do list than blogging at the moment — I’d rather be blogging as I’ve yet to gas myself typing on a computer! — so I haven’t had a chance to mention some cool and interesting things that have been cluttering up my list of open browser tabs. While I wait for the paint fumes to subside before going to bed, here are a few of them, in no particular order…

First from the Mix and Mash Blog, and giving this post its title, Pic and Mix project from Kent County Council: I wonder if Eastleigh do anything similar.

From John’s Random Musings, Exposing your WebSphere logs as ATOM feeds: definitely want to give this a try with MDM Server.

From knolleary.net, Twitterlogue: wish twitter had been around when I was in New Zealand. Brilliant.

From developerWorks, Leverage DataPower SOA Appliances to extend InfoSphere Master Data Management Server security capabilities: looks interesting but I haven’t had a chance to read it in detail yet.

And finally, also from developerWorks, two new articles for the user interface generator:

MDM Workbench white paper

If you’ve read my Setting up an MDM Server development environment post in the past, there is now a new white paper on the MDM Workbench developerWorks forum which I would definitely recommend taking a look at.

The White paper on using the MDM Workbench has updated information on setting up a development environment, with screen shots of the wizard used. It then takes you through subsequent tasks to create a working extension to the MDM Server, with essential information about working on the code in a team environment.

The information should provide a quick start for anyone new to the MDM Workbench. Please provide any feedback on the white paper in the forum thread.

Master Data Management links: February

I have a slightly bad habit of leaving lots of tabs open in my browser until I get round to looking at them properly. Unfortunately my laptop seems to be getting a tad unreliable and after the last crash Opera failed to restore all the open tabs I had, which included a few MDM sites I was planning to post about. Here’s a very quick run down of the ones I could remember:

Master Data Management: Rapid Deployment Package for MDM draft redbook

I was presenting on a similar theme at the last Information on Demand conference, and we got quite a few questions about the rapid deployment package after it was announced at the same event. Hopefully this Redbook has all the answers!

A beginner’s guide to MDM (Master Data Management)

I discovered this one after a tweet from @dataqualitypro. Reasonable length introduction to MDM without overdoing it, and with some handy links. Now bookmarked ready for the next, ‘What is MDM?’ question.

MDM Community

A Ning community created by Dan Power, and one of the links in the beginners guide. Looks like it’s building up to be an interesting and active community.

Understand IBM InfoSphere MDM Server Security, Part 5: Integrating Master Data Management Server with Tivoli Federated Identity Manager

Latest in a series of developerWorks articles on MDM Server security. I’m about to publish a new developerWorks space for the MDM Workbench so I’ve been on the look out for developerWorks articles on MDM. Good to see recent articles for MDM Server on there.

(Ooops, already back up to 36 tabs! Must start tagging and closing them or something.)

Update: the MDM Workbench developerWorks space is now live- I guess that should be a March link but it almost made it in time! (4 March 2009)

MDM Workbench developerWorks forum

This is just a quick plug for the new MDM Workbench forum on developerWorks, which is worth following if you’ve read any of the MDM Workbench related posts below. I’ll still be writing about my own views of MDM and the workbench here, but for a larger audience of people who know the MDM Workbench, the new forum is the place to go.

And there’s more: for any MDM Server runtime specific discussions there is a well established InfoSphere Master Data Management Server forum, also on developerWorks.

Are SOA and MDM inseparable?

Reading “MDM and SOA, a Strong Partnership” on the Hub Solution Designs blog reminded me that it was about time I rescued this post from the depths of my collection of drafts.

To be useful, services must at some point deal with information, whether that’s product information, account information, a customer record or something else that is of interest to your business. It doesn’t take too long when you look at even the most basic web service examples before you spot something like ‘getCustomer’. You don’t need to look far; this post about RESTful services has account as well as customer for example.

Of course, if you aren’t writing this web service for a brand new company, the obvious question is where is the information about the customer going to come from? If you don’t consider master data management before taking the plunge with SOA, you’ll either end up with defacto master data appearing in an add hoc way, possibly based on the order services are exposed without any thought about data quality, or a whole bunch of conflicting data from duplicated services. It’s not a one way street either, master data management systems are easier with service oriented approaches.

Here’s what a few others have to say on the subject:

Update: I read New trends in Enterprise Software Enterprise 2.0 and MDM today which also has quite a nice introduction to how MDM and SOA are related. (14 April 2009)

Creating user interfaces another way

The paragraph about the user interface generator in my last post, or my other recent attempt to explain what it does, don’t really tell you very much. I hope this quick festive example provides a better idea about how user modeling and code generation can speed up user interface development.

First I needed to think of something Christmassy that might need a simple user interface. I apologise in advance, but I chose Christmas cracker jokes!! On the plus side, they’re really simple, and a basic create, read, update and delete interface makes perfect sense. So, I got started by creating a CRUD Joke UML diagram… and about five minutes later I stopped laughing to myself! Well, it’s funnier than most cracker jokes!

Anyway, the UML tools we provide for user modeling enable you to create a new user object with the default CRUD tasks in one go. Here’s what it looks like:

User model

Next, because the user modeling is focused on the roles and goals of users, I added a few other bits just for the demo:

Roles and goals

Perhaps a better role would have been, “Joke quality monitor”, with a goal of, “Maximise Christmas laughter”… or should that be minimise… well, you get the idea!

That’s pretty much it, I can then click the “Generate User Interface…” menu option, deploy the EAR it creates to an application server and fire up my web browser. It took longer to get this far through the blog post than it did to get a working user interface (admittedly I’m a very slow writer, but still, I think that’s pretty good).

Generated user interface

(Thanks to a very old BBC article for that joke!)

The activity diagram behind the modify task above looks like this:

Activity diagram

At some point you need to put real code in for the commands to interact with the back end system, whatever that might be, but to start with the tool will generate a default implementation so you can quickly prototype and test the UI.

So that’s all there is to creating cracking user interfaces.