OMG Internet Platform Special Interest Group

Minutes of Meeting #14

December 1, 1997
East Brunswick, New Jersey
OMG document internet/97-12-01
OMG Internet Platform SIG homepage:



 Dr. Craig Thompson - - Object Services and Consulting, Inc.
 Mr. Sheldon C. Sutton - - The MITRE Corporation
 Mr. Christophe Gransart - - Laboratoire d'Informatique Fond. de Lille
 Dr. Philippe Merle - - Laboratoire d'Informatique Fond. de Lille
 Mr. Jeff Poste - - IPL Energy Works
 Mr. Andrew Eisenberg - - Sybase, Inc.
 Mr. Aart van Halteren - - KPN Research
 Mr. Stig Berild - - SISU
 Ms. Susan Wolfley -  - The MITRE Corporation
 Mr. David S. Dobrotka - USAF/AFIWC
 Mr. Terry Ellis - Fretwell Downing
 Ms. Catherine Susch - - Ernst & Young LLP
 Mr. Benedicto Cabanas - - The OASys Group
 Ms. Kathleen Cowan - - Freddie Mac
 Ms. Katharine Whitehead - - SEER Technologies Ltd.
 Mr. Henry Balen - - Xenotrope, Inc.
 Mr. Pranab K. Baruah - - Boeing Company
 Mr. Denis L. Bagsby - - Southwestern Bell
 Mr. Antony Reynolds - - Galileo International
 Mr. Peter Bonham - - Tandem Computers, Inc.
 Mr. William Ruh - - Concept Five Technologies, Inc.
 Mr. Ron Zahavi - - Concept Five Technologies, Inc.
 Mr. John Marsh - - Concept Five Technologies
 Dr. Jeremy Parsons - - European Bioinformatics Institute
 Mr. Imran Sayeed  - - NetNumina Solutions
 Mr. Yoichi Mori - - Nihon Unisys, Ltd.
 Mr. Silas Larry Smith - - IBM Corporation
 Mr. James L. Ellis - Merrill Lynch
 Mr. Masayoshi Shimamura - - Fujitsu Limited
 Mr. Jan R. Schultz - - IDX Systems Corporation
 Dr. Jeff Sutherland - - IDX Systems Corporation
 Mr. Edwin Tse - - Ericsson
 Dr. Umesh Bellur  - - Oracle Corporation
 Mr. Simon C. Nash - - IBM UK Ltd.
 Mr. Ofer Ben-Shachar  - - NetDynamics
 Mr. Peter Yared - NetDynamics
 Mr. Vasile Radoaca - - Nortel Technologies
 Mr. Henry Rothkopf - - The MITRE Corporation
 Mr. Wang-Chien Lee - - GTE Laboratories Inc.
 Mr. Brian Thomas - - Southwestern Bell
 Mr. Lars Ola Osterlund -    ABB Network Partner
 Ms. Elizabeth Ungar  - - The Boeing Company
 Ms. Maryann Spillane - - Raytheon Electronic Systems
 Mr. Ralph Stout  - - Information Builders, Inc.
 Mr. Rangaswamy Keshavan - Quoin
 Mr. Michael Bigrigg - - Carnegie Mellon University

Towards a Web Object Model, Frank Manola, Object Services and Consulting

Abstract:  There are a number of Web technologies that are relevant to providing object technology (and object services) on the Web *in addition to Java*(!) This presentation reviews efforts to add more structure to the Web such as XML, Document Object Model, PICS, and Resource Description Framework. The presentation also discusses the key issue of converging these technologies, and object efforts like IDL and Java, to provide better structuring primitives for the Web, and avoid a situation where each ommunity invents its own representations and services.

Thesis: There is a need to further integrate web and object technology. The complexity of applications that the web is being applied to is increasing and there is beginning to be overlap with OMG. OMA provides a useful architecture. The notion that the web is a simple distributed object system is not new: URLs provide OIDs, pages as state, behavior provided by HTTP servers and scripting languages on client and server side. A number of efforts have tried to amplify this integration. Object technology is a convenient language for extending the web.

Fundamental components of any object model requires data structures that can represent state and a means of associating behavior. Mapping this to the web, we need to gather the data/pages and associated relevant code. Java provides one means for doing all this. Two approaches: do it all in Java or beef up parts of the web infrastructure.

W3C is doing relevant work.

How to form web objects using the technologies above: one reasonable approach -- use XML as the state. Use Java tag for object code. Use RDF to define relations to other code.

Final observations -- you can support many kinds of object models using these mechanisms. All the representations have a predicate logic formulation. Reification is important. Object logics provide a way to define query languages over these structures.

Experience with iM, A Componentized Web Infrastructure, Pete Bonham, Director R&D/CTO, Tektonic Software

Abstract:  iM ( information Matrix ) is an application platform - i.e. an architecture and one instantiation - for heterogeneous information retrieval, transformation, and delivery. The iM architecture is based upon coarse-grained CORBA components. iM has engendered a fast growing autocatalytic product community.  This presentation introduces iM, major architectural, design, and implementation decisions, and then reviews lessons learned to date and potential future work directions.

Notes on presentation:  Tektonic is a business unit of Tandem. Marchitecture: Tektonic does high performance IPC (fastest or close to it). Krypton ORB on top. Distilling products off of iM. Started down this path 4 years ago. Architecture must be extensible and scaleable - adapter, gateway, transformers. (Note: start with clean architecture and then warts appear which are secondary architectural abstractions). Few adapters, many gateways. Services are protocol independent, stateless, not all services you need are in your architectural space so gateways are critical. They quickly made some design decisions that became irrevocable. No co-location exploitation. Scaleable and replicable components. Parse headers into contexts of attribute value pairs. All components in their architecture have IDL interfaces so they can run in different environments. You need different TCP components because they must be retargetable. Showed the stream interface using get/put. Partners can extend the architecture via replacing modules and server side scripting.

Lessons learned: coarse-grained asynchronous components yields an architecture and implement. Might have reached a limit in componentry. The humble stream still as legs. The component approach is best. Context is hard - seems to be an optimization problem. Not so sure you can get top performance w/o taking performance into account. CM, management, alerts is a big resource sink. Need canonical approach to configuratiion and alerts. Having more success via iscript as opposed to IDL.

Guesses and beliefs. Product will die if it does not form a solid community. Not clear whose component problem it is in multi-component vendor environments. Best component may be too heavy weight for someone else. Request/response might need a dialog. Throughout the lifecycle, enormous productivity gains are still possible.

Internet, Intranet, Extranet, Web: How should I deploy my CORBA Application, Imran Sayeed, CTO, NetNumina Solutions

Abstract:  The industry is full of middleware, RAD tools, and application servers that claim to be CORBA-compliant and able to work on the Internet, Extranet, Intranet  or the Web. Often the vendors have no idea what the distinction is between these deployment scenarios and why it's important.  This presentation will detail the differring technology requirements of these deployment scenarios, and offer solutions using existing CORBA products, for some of their most vexing problems including: The presentation will further explain an architecture for developing CORBA applications that are well integrated with any of the above deployment scenarios and conclude with a demonstration of a real CORBA application developed using this architecture.

Notes on presentation:  NetNumina moves business critical applications to IDL and the web. What does web-enabling of an application mean? The application has a web browser presentation layer. Use Java, JavaScript, XML, Use the web because it is omnipresent. CORBA is the only standards-based distributed object infrastructure available in 100% pure Java. Much faster to download Java ORB clients on Netscape and saves money on runtime licenses since its built in. Can be bundled into jar or cab files for quicker downloads. CORBA vendors are bundling new capabilities as jar files.

Internet-enabling is having apps available across firewalls. Extranet traverses some walls Requires firewall, WANs, security (authentication, authorization, data encryption, non-repudiation, integrating w existing enterprise security). Intranet is inside the company-clients want superior user interface and GUI controls.

CORBA provides support for Java. COM/CORBA bridge. CORBA services like event, persistence, trader.

NetWeaver is a CORBA-based product that has CORBA clients that talk SSL into web server that talks to CORBA, DCOM, DCE.

HTTP-NG Briefing, Larry Smith, IBM

Larry Smith gave a 15 minute briefing on the W3C HTTP-NG project.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C, initiates projects via briefing packages. HTTP-NG is one such package. Two subprojects: web characterization group and protocol design group.

The Web Characterization Working Group (chaired by Jim Pitkow) is working on requirements, caching, hot spots, behavior of a high performance web. They are trying to get good metrics on the health of the web and traffic patterns.

The Protocol Design Working Group (chaired by Jim Gettys) is testing the hypothesis "Can a generic distributed object system be used as the foundation of the Web?" The effort is tied into IETF. Other key people are Bill Janssen, Henrik Nielsen, and Mike Spreitzer. Will be related via RFP and IIOP at the transport layer. Xerox ILU is being used for prototyping.

In separate W3C work, IDL is being used in the DOM model.

Brainstorm on OMG Java Relationship, Craig Thompson, Object Services and Consulting, Inc.

Abstract.  Open discussion on what it might mean for OMG to be "Java-friendly" to help convergence (at least preclude divergence) of the two communities.  Could this mean: Discussion. With OMG and Java recently becoming PAS submitters, there is a danger that the standards could diverge if OMG and Javasoft do not begin to make a concerted effort to converge. OMG management and Javasoft management do not currently have a strategic relationship. But there is an effort on the part of OMG submitters to align specifications like Name Service, Java Beans, Call by Value, Component Model, and Java to IDL.

We briefly discussed a few of the alternatives listed above in the abstract as well as a systematic replacement of dusty OMG specs like Trader, Query Service and others that have never been commercially implemented. The discussion was intense and spirited.

Action Item. At the Salt Lake City meeting, we will have a half day morning session on OMG + Java relationship. In between, Craig Thompson will issue a call for position statements (which may lead to email discussions).

Object Transfer and Manipulation (OTAM), Shel Sutton, The MITRE Corporation

Abstract.  OTAM is a proposed information access common facility based loosely on ISO FTAM . It consists of a virtual file system that provides an interface to a collection of physical file stores and database records. A Trader stores the file and database schemas plus potentially more (e.g., data conversions). This is an attempt to objectify file systems so CORBA can operate on them. FTAM can be viewed as a file system adapter.

Discussion. Shel handed out a White Paper on OTAM (internet/97-12-05) and went over it. Mike Bigrigg (CMU, volunteered to be document editor. Some work assignments were made or reconfirmed. Expect more progress at the next meeting.

CVW, Shel Sutton, The MITRE Corporation

Shel Sutton announced that MITRE is offering to provide OMG their Collaborative Virtual Workspace (CVW) for use in organizing OMG activities. CVW is a MUD that provides a rooms metaphor where avatars do all your work (a joke, don't cha know). MITRE retains control of the server which contains shareware; it is being rewritten in Java and will be free, Shel thinks. It is not implemented using CORBA at present-- this might be a place for standardizing CORBA interfaces. MITRE is fanning it out internally.

Next Meeting Plan

See Preliminary Agenda for Meeting #15.