October 2013 Archives

Security matters: a real developer/manager viewpoint

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This is a guest post on the Computer Weekly Developer Network by Brian Chappell, director of engineering for EMEA & India at information security and vulnerability management/assessment company BeyondTrust.

What drives software?
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We all know that the world of software development is driven by many factors including new features, improved functionality, better performance and fast time-to-market.

All rightly so...

... but concerns for security can lag behind and it is often seen as an operational concern.

So does this matter?

Having developed a few apps in my time, I believe that it does.

A niche ASP.NET MVC web app I wrote several years ago still receives an average of 50-60 hacking attempts daily, many of which are looking to target the administrative side of well-known products.

Fortunately, for web apps we usually have security at the forefront of our minds, as these usually a have user login and restricted pages in some form, forcing the developer to consider the user privileges needed.

Short-term shortcomings?

But, when it comes to what we intend to be short-term applications running on user workstations are we as diligent?

This is not to say that security is the sole responsibility of developers - far from it - but I argue that security becomes easier when everyone involved in the delivery of software puts security near - if not at - the top of their list of priorities.

Two central X-factors

For software developers this can be boiled down into what amounts to probably two main considerations: thinking about the security requirements of the software they are crafting (should be a given); and just as importantly, the security of the systems they are using to write the software.

It's easy to think of the two aspects as being separate but the truth is that they are very much intertwined.

This brings us to a thorny and topical issue: administrator privileges.

It has long been assumed that developers should have very broad administrator privileges, because they need to be able to attach their debuggers to running processes, install and uninstall applications, install various tools and libraries, and so on.

But - having viewed this from both the developer side and the view of a vendor who has come across some horror stories in the marketplace - I reckon that developers need to consider their often unrestricted administrator privileges as a double-edged sword that they might want to revise.

The admin meltdown syndrome

Not only do admin privileges open up vulnerabilities on the developer's workstation (over 70% of known vulnerabilities in Windows 7 require admin privilege to be exploited) but they can also introduce additional problems for security down the road.

An example scenario is a piece of software that needs to write or modify files in a privileged folder, for example Program Files on a Windows system or /etc on a *nix box.

This software would run without issue on the developer's system, probably pass all its tests and be passed onto the operational team for deployment. The application has carried with it the need for admin privilege, the developer has most likely moved onto other projects and so the operational team is left with the need to modify the user privilege to enable it to run.

This is undoubtedly going to involve weakening the system security, either by adding admin privilege to the user, or by lowering the file system security. Both of these actions introduce vulnerability into the system.

The privileged API route

Another scenario would involve the use of a privileged API call that similarly works for the developer but requires additional privilege for every user of the software. Compilers produce errors and warnings when code isn't correct or following best practices; if we could have a way of doing the same for the examples described then we can prevent these vulnerabilities from being introduced.

Nor is giving developers 'standard privileges' in line with other users in anyone's best interests: sure, the code would then be unable to write to the privileged folder or call the privileged API, but debugging and installing would also be hampered.

The solution is the principle of 'least privilege', in other words the granting of only the privileges essential to the user's work.

For developers, this means granting specific rights such as "Debug Programs" and the ability to install specified applications, tools or libraries. The developer is then able to write his or her software in a context that is close - if not identical - to that of the target user.

This leads to fewer vulnerabilities being introduced and a safe operating environment for the developer.

The principle of 'least privilege'

Of course, where there is a legitimate need, for example for privileged API calls, then least privilege processes and tools can identify the specific admin privileges necessary, enabling the developer to provide an appropriate policy or rule to the operations team along with the application. This ensures that the principle of 'least privilege' is followed through to deployment and without the developer needing to become a security expert.

Of course, there are other security measures that developers could get themselves involved in, but better management of privileges goes a long way towards preventing all kinds of vulnerabilities further down the line.

Starting security from a position of privilege and attempting to manage that down means that control breaks down maximum privilege levels are exposed, whereas, least-privilege always defaults to the safest and most secure scenario of the standard user.

I can summarise it by saying that admin rights shouldn't be inherently implicit and instead, they should be explicit (in other words, only applied where needed), something that applies not just to developers, but the whole organisation. Small steps, but ones in the right direction.


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Microsoft UK: brave developers lead the charge in uncertain UK app economy

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Microsoft UK has conducted research which suggests that the "vast majority" (86%) of those software application developers building services and apps today believe the skills required are completely different from five to ten years ago.

The research also submits that the term "developer" now comprises a wider ecosystem of professionals, hobbyists and individuals responsible for the creation of applications and software.

NOTE: This broader community definition of developer resonates closely with the wider contribution model championed by the open source model, although we are NOT suggesting that Microsoft is merely "aping" or mirroring this trend in any sense at all.

"'Geek Speak' is not the language of a small club anymore," says Anand Krishnan, GM of the developer and platform group at Microsoft Limited.

"It's a world of opportunity - and harsh new challenges. The days of developing for a single platform, a single form factor, even a single kind of device are over as we know it today," added Krishnan.
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Brave developers

Krishnan calls out what he calls today's "brave developers", who are forging a path ahead as 86% of programmer believe they've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with software and applications

The survey includes a number of indicators pointing to a positive outlook for developers working in the UK economy.

Developer motivation overall is strong with nearly all (95%) optimistic about the future of this industry - and a total of 83% agree that when multichannel becomes a standard approach, it will be possible to take full advantage of features available across all platforms

However, with respondents suggesting that only half of new applications (51%) and software (51%) are delivering a reasonable Return on Investment (ROI), there remain a number of barriers that must be overcome.

The top five challenges include:

1. Design requirements changing part way through development
2. The need for regular testing/updates when an operating system updates
3. Programming in multiple languages
4. Potential issues with security or privacy
5. Difficulty porting the application to multiple platforms

Krishnan continues, "This 'brave development' encapsulates the past two decades of expansion in the developer workforce, which has brought significant value to the UK economy in terms of skills, jobs and a thriving startup sector. It also reflects how there remain some key challenges that impact the industry."

Microsoft recently announced two key initiatives supporting the growth of UK developers and start-ups including: The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator -- a 12 week programme designed to help high-potential startups grow their business through a combination of 1:1 mentoring, technical assistance and access to resources designed for startups striving to break new ground in cloud, internet, mobile or gaming. Also Greenshoots -- a programme jointly developed by Microsoft and Creative England, to support early stage startup game studios with bringing new and exciting game titles to the Windows platforms.

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*** The survey includes 400 respondents: 220 professional developers, 80 hobbyists and 100 marketing decision makers responsible for commissioning application / software development.

SAP TechEd 2013: ABC theory shows "we need processes to drive processes"

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SAP kicked off its biggest developer, user and partner event this year in what tech chief Dr Vishal Sikka has called: "a time of reflection and transformation" during which every industry on the planet is being transformed by technology.

No keynote worth its salt is presented without an inspirational management theory -- and SAP would not be one to disappoint here would it?

Doug Englebart's theory of ABC describes a company separating out its workflows as follows:

A - a firm's core goals
B - a firm's processes
C - a third silo of work focused on driving processes to improve B processes themselves

In practice Englebart's theory actually goes even further i.e. C in itself will drive better outcomes in B and, further, C can be turned back upon itself to create better "process process" management itself.

Given our global drive to move towards SERVICES AND PROCESSES... this could be a useful time to remind ourselves of this theory.

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Image credit: Tom Raftery on http://www.flickr.com/photos/traftery/
"Dr Vishal: HANA is my little girl and she rides on the Hadoop elephant to perform analytics on the infinite data store when 'infinite needs' to be actioned as 'instant' instead."

After this big game intro, Dr Vishal compared SAP's core product (and his own personal darling "little girl") HANA in somewhat over-grandiose terms to innovations throughout history as important as the invention of the microscope, the surfboard and the Rosetta Stone...

... well, it is a keynote, you have to allow for a little over-amplified showboating don't you?

So What is SAP HANA today?

The company's HANA product has been on a progression path since it was introduced and SAP has openly honest about its "work in progress" state over the years, so where is it now?

... take a deep breath

HANA encompasses and includes a massively parallel in-memory columnar database and exists as a platform (for application services with its corresponding application libraries) for both OLTP and OLAP use cases ... in both structured and unstructured data environments - capable of spanning legacy and new technologies - ready for enterprise deployment and capable of scale.

This is a prelude to SAP talking about its Fiori User eXperience offering.

This is a technology layer that sits above ERP, CRM, procurement and SCM, plus other silos such as the talent management silo (all of which the firm would like to see sat on the HANA cloud platform).

NOTE: 2000 customers are now using HANA and the firm says it has doubled its HANA revenue over the last year... "developers are now using the platform" -- and applications have been referenced in banking, manufacturing, retail, healthcare as well as oil & gas.

In terms of product, HANA SP7 will now arrive in November 2013. This will be much more than just a relational database, it will be positioned as a real time data platform for applications. Also of note... River Definition Language will be featured in HANA SP7.

What the analysts say

"The main point that comes across to this audience is the transformation within SAP that is enabling a more business focused process enablement and development opportunities for its customers," said Alea Fairchild of the Constantia Institute.

"SAP is reorienting itself to better address the challenges of integrating its tools into a more harmonious platform offering leveraging the HANA investment and its service opportunities. Articulating its vision in a more visual mapping, the keynote touched on the different sides of the business and how they fit together, although this still needs a bit more clarity in terms of naming conventions," added the ebullient Belgian technical analyst.

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Image credit: Tom Raftery on http://www.flickr.com/photos/traftery/
-- The very analytical Jon Reed in keynote action.

"SAP has built significant momentum around SAP HANA over the past two years, a platform which has evolved to include not only advanced database/in-memory technology, but also application platform services including mobile,'' said Charlotte Dunlap, sr. analyst for Current Analysis (Sterling, Virginia).

"The company is now challenged to build up its ecosystem of channel partners, especially those that will help SAP create innovative apps which will ultimately drive business to the platform's infrastructure services," she added.

Closing thoughts from day #1...

A good show from SAP then?

Yes, not bad at all. Quite modestly understated and Germanic if anything (although Dr Vishal thinks he's American now anyway) -- SAP has launched a new big data brand and has real tangible applications being developed and evidenced upon HANA which were only shown at the end of the keynote rather than used as the main news.

Our main feature programme will continue with more news shortly...

What to expect from SAP TechEd 2013

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SAP TechEd 2013 is here. The party faithful are gathering and there are a few shockwaves and revelations... plus a few logical predictions to be made here and there.

First to Sybase -- there has been much web forum discussion as to which elements of the old Sybase stack will still feature in current SAP gatherings -- or indeed on the wider SAP roadmap.
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Specifically, developers have been asking whether the Sybase PowerBuilder Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and business application development tool would still be featured (or even supported!) this year and going forward.

Still other PowerBuilder users and customers have been asking how they might make their PowerBuilder apps available via SaaS platforms - this also appears to be a work progress with SAP telling us that "it'll get back to us"... the reality appears to suggest that the firm is ploughing all its energy into HANA.

SAP's (ex-Sybase) Sue Dunnell wrote earlier this year, "I know that folks are waiting for any news on SAP's commitment to the [PowerBuilder] product. I've been upbeat and positive in my communication because I want to communicate to our customers that we have support for the product from senior management... and support for developers overall is very strong."

So let's move on down the SAP product line.

What we do know is that SAP will talk about Lumira, the product that came out of the renaming of SAP Visual Intelligence business intelligence and analytics software.

Lumira might sound like a good name for a "surprising spacious" Japanese family saloon car, but it is more Google-friendly and human-friendly than the old moniker and this is an easier way for SAP to sell "self-service business intelligence for everyone, as they say in marketing land.

So Lumira (and the accompanying Lumira Cloud) now is all about making dig data analysis interesting for everyone.
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More technically speaking, this concerns functions including data manipulation, data merging and use of a "formula editor" to dig into data sources across different data formats during data acquisition.

In terms of use, data developers (and SAP will tell us business users too) will want to customise charts and create "user defined views of data" without heavy scripting or coding. If you listen hard enough here, SAP will tell you to expect "cool charts and visualizations" (with a Z), but we will move on.

So onward to keynotes and SAP's Dr Vishal Sikka.

There may be some more official reaction to reports circulating on Reuters this weekend which detail the firm's moves to close one of its business units.

According to Reuters, "Business weekly Wirtschaftswoche said SAP would stop the development of a software dubbed Business By Design, although existing customers will be able to continue to use it."

... actually SAP may yet have been done a disservice by initial reports -- sources close to events are suggesting that the various reports on ByDesign's demise are incomplete. But now that the topic is in the open, SAP will have to address these because development partners will be asking the same questions about its future and what it means for their custom development.

SAP will also talk volubly on Fiori, its productivity-focused collection of apps that support the most broadly and frequently used SAP software functions. SAP Fiori includes 25 apps for the most common business functions, such as workflow approvals, information lookups etc.
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As executive board member for products and innovation (he's the tech lead, basically) for SAP AG today, Dr Vishal Sikka will detail the latest movements for the HANA data and applications platform.

Bread and butter Dr Vishal

OK so you knew that part, that's the bread and butter of what Dr Vishal does.

More specifically, the HANA that was once "just a database and in-memory computing platform with a strong emphasis on ERP" is now much further along on its journey to become much more than this - although it is still quite openly and definitely a work in progress.

Dennis Howlett has already written on diginomica saying that he also expects SAP to centre on landscape simplification. "This is one of the great HANA promises. Once again, we're not talking 'job done' but SAP has made significant progress across multiple applications."

SAP and open source

Howlett also points to SAP's approach to open source and says that, "For too many years, SAP has had a toxic 'not invented here' syndrome where if the development wasn't coming from Walldorf then it didn't exist."

The diginomica founder and orator also draws upon his deep knowledge of SAP saying that, "SAP already knows it needs to behave differently It's just not clear whether the transformation Sikka has promised is sufficiently advanced to make that a reality. A strong commitment to open source goes some way towards achieving that."

Developers, developers, SAP developers

Community, community, community, developers, developers, developers - yes, SAP will also talk about that a lot and we should add customers, customers, customers to that list too.

Let's not forget that this event is also a key opportunity for SAP to listen to its customers, developers and community and we might even be so bold as to include press in that last category. So let's hope the week ahead is mutually beneficial for all.

TIBCO heralds dawn of civilisation 3.0

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Being a CEO and delivering tech keynotes is difficult.

First of all you have to welcome everyone, thank your sponsors and then crack a few jokes about not drinking too much at the after party etc.

That's the easy part.

Then you have to create an inspirational thought provoking speech when all you really have to draw upon is the history of data integration, cloud, mobile technology and/or database architectures and such like.

Key areas "inspirational hot buttons" to reference are the invention of the motor car manufacturing process by Henry Ford, the Wright brother's first flight or the introduction of the wooden spoon etc.

If you are very creative you might also throw in some link points to classic literature, popular music (and if you are really creative) you could even throw in a few references to news items from the current week.

TIBCO chairman and CEO Vivek Ranadivé fell back on some of these tried and tested tactics at this week's TUCON user conference in Las Vegas, but he also threw in a new perhaps more original gambit with his notion of civilisation 3.0 today.

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TIBCO's civilisation 3.0

Civilisation 1.0 - this was the first age of man in the pre 20th Century era where most of the contributors to society (apart from Kings and prophets) were individuals - this could be anyone from a butcher to a baker to a carpenter, anyone at all.

Civilisation 2.0 - this second age occurred throughout the 20th Century where industrialisation and the rise of the corporation happened.

Civilisation 3.0 - this age is now and this is a period when we are focused on providing services i.e.. the world's biggest book store (Amazon) has no shops or bookstores, the world's biggest taxi company (Uber) doesn't have any taxis (people pool cars into the service in the USA and the service only owns the drivers) and what might be the world's most omnipresent mobile company Qualcomm, (which creates IP for mobile handset chips) doesn't have factories.

In this third age, we start to see the influence again of individuals through social channels suggests Ranadivé.

If there is a civilisation 4.0 on the horizon, this is when a digital sixth sense starts to be developed where we see the co-existence of the physical space with the digital space -- personalised healthcare through intelligent devices is part of this concept and is already starting to arrive.

So with this kind of intro, your appetite is hopefully whetted for some big data product sell.

After all, the notions here described all rely upon data capture and analysis at the right time in the right place and this, in essence, is what TIBCO does.

Ranadivé is famed for saying:

"If you have just a little bit of the right information a couple of seconds or minutes in advance, it's more valuable than all of the information in the world six months after the fact. At TIBCO, our mission is that if you get the right information in the right place at the right time you can make the world a better place."

Lovely stuff, very cute sir.

We're pretty sure that helps sell more copies of your management book. OK sorry that's unnecessarily snide, Ranadivé is something of a philanthropist and quite a modest self-effacing chap who started with a plane ticket from India and $50 in his pocket.

What the TIBCO dream comes down to is the following statement:

Big data, that is not "operationalized" big data (i.e. actionable in real time) is worthless big data.

The Computer Weekly Developer Network has already covered some of TIBCO's main product news for this event and CTO Matt Quinn has explained that they put the news out early so that people could really plan their session time and learn about Spotfire 6 at the show.

"Most the major changes were last year, when we re-wrote the back end. This was more about accessibility. So it was all about changing consumption models and getting the product to mobile and cloud," said Quinn.

The Spotfire business intelligence analytics software is part of the whole two second data engine i.e. firms should be able to find patterns in historical data and implement data analysis rules based upon that information... and then look forward to live data and that which is in process to start making real time decisions.

Who uses this stuff?

In terms of application usage, scenarios including fraud, upselling, cross-selling and loyalty apps all love this type of thing... retail is an understandably strong vertical, but healthcare and financial and others are also relevant.

"Use the word 'immersive' please to describe this year's event," said the PR person who asked to be quoted on that point. "What we have tried to do is create more hands on time for data engineers rather than making this a huge old networking session (although it is that too a bit) and in fact all education sessions have sold out," said the attractive young PR lady.

What TIBCO is talking about this week is real i.e. the still-in-development Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is part of a "digital sixth sense" - this is a five pound device that can detect 15 diseases or ailments better than a team of doctors.

Big data will give us this new civilisation 3.0 (or 4.0) reality if it hasn't already.

Before we get there we will have to learn more about data integration and the mechanics of actually handling big data (such as data upload) before we can start to bring real time strategic decision making to bear on every aspect of our life and create a new digital world - and those sessions are exactly what TIBCO is offering users this week.

Are we on the cusp of creating a brave new world in the shape of TIBCO's data dream, or is the firm just a bit slick and marketing its back end tools and software?

My money is on digitally enhanced big data in everything from my cornflakes to my own earlobes - see you on the other side in civilisation 4.0 soon.

TIBCO coalesces big data streams with analytics

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Why would a company put out one of its major news announcements the week before its annual user, customer and developer conference?

Reason #1 - it has more up its sleeve for next week.
Reason #2 - it is confident enough to swagger at its annual symposium with fewer press releases.
Reason #3 - it got the date wrong and this is all a mistake.

Nope, the date is correct and TIBCO has this week announced the latest version of its Spotfire data discovery and visualisation platform. Version 6.0 of Spotfire includes enhancements for developers and contextual automated location-aware data analytics, so what's not to like?

The firm's VP of product Lars Bauerle insists that his team has "invested significantly in the technical core" and that this tool helps extend the use of impact analytics to all corners of a business.

So what does that mean?

What does impact analytics do?

Bauerle explains that it can help structure personal KPIs (key performance indicators) on any mobile device to every employee.

... and this, enables customers to transform and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage ... as they say in PR land.

KPIs in the "last mile" of the enterprise
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"With the consumerisation of IT and increasingly mobile workforces, employees expect immediate access to accurate and relevant operational information wherever they are. That means the right information must be available at the right time, on the right device -- and personalised to the individual. Spotfire 6.0 delivers through an updated web client now called TIBCO Spotfire Consumer, which presents up-to-date key performance indicators on a range of mobile devices supporting capabilities such as offline KPI monitoring, contextual drill down and social collaboration. Support is provided for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 operating systems," said the company, in press statement.

What's not to like indeed - unless perhaps you are a disgruntled employee who is not very keen on being slapped with KPI targets which are being monitored via your mobile device.

Spotfire 6.0 also allows for visualising, exploring and analysing data in the context of geographic information and maps.

This is mobile KPIs that know where you are, there is no escape.

NOTE: Users are able to expand situational understanding through the use of multi-layered maps, automatic geo-coding, and data overlay - this promotes so called "self-service discovery and visibility" into the unknown.

Also included in this news batch is TIBCO Spotfire Event Analytics, a new product that allows enterprises to automate the tracking and identification of new trends or outliers in business data, as they are generated.

According to TIBCO, "This real-time monitoring, powered by TIBCO's event-processing technologies, triggers the automatic creation of analytic applications to enable management by exception, providing data analysts and decision-makers with the insight they need, as it develops, to further monitor important processes, such as quality control, customer churn, and productivity."

So for companies, this is an important "coalescence of big data streams with analytics" to help promote continuous improvement for the business and saves considerable time for the analyst to deliver value to the business.

NB: the working title for this piece was "Contextual automated location-aware data analytics, KPI dream or Orwellian user nightmare?", but as that was a teeny bit barbed, we opted to play softball.

Keeping COBOL sexy with a game coding challenge

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As part of its corporate academic programme, Micro Focus has staged a COBOL code contest for student and community developers around the world.

Programmers and code hobbyists are being challenged to design and develop a video game program using the company's Visual COBOL Personal Edition, for the chance to win a cash prize of $1,000.

NOTE: Considered outdated by some, COBOL in fact supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems and many organisations reportedly say that they will continue to use it for "decades to come".
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COBOL /ˈkoʊbɒl/ is one of the oldest programming languages, primarily designed by Grace Hopper. Its name is an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language,

More prestigious perhaps is the fact that the winning game will also make a highlighted appearance in a future release of Visual COBOL.

Contestants can create their entry based on any existing video game, like the COBOL Blitz version of Space Invaders, or invent a new game of their own.

NOTE: The core contest requirement is that the game must contain at least 50% Visual COBOL.

Micro Focus says that by downloading a copy of Visual COBOL Personal, developers can build their video game using the very latest modern IDE of their choice i.e. Visual Studio or Eclipse.

Contestants are also encouraged to be creative and combine other programing languages or technologies with Visual COBOL.

The contest judging will take place between close on 17 December 2013 and 20 January 2014, with winners announced in late January, 2014.

Kevin Brearley of Micro Focus has said that COBOL has its place in the classroom and remains an importance component of the academic curriculum.

Commenting on the value of the COBOL code contest, Michael Coughlan, lecturer at the University of Limerick said, "Students who wish to work in enterprise environments need a mixed skill-set, combining experience in modern programing languages with knowledge of enterprise applications written in older languages such as COBOL."

Progress wagers on new disruptive cloud application construct

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Progress CEO Phil Pead kicked off his firm's Exchange 2013 developer symposium this week in a rainy but relaxed Boston, Massachusetts.

It's tough for any CEO in this space to stand on any keynote stage and try to convey something genuinely new (or at least even mildly thought provoking) in the cloud application space... so did he pull it off?

Mercifully perhaps, Pead used the words 'unique' and 'game-changing' very little when explaining his firm's latest updates to its Progress Pacific platform-as-a-service.

If there is something appetizing worth salivating over here, it is the way Progress is trying to lay down its take on what makes a new disruptive cloud software application development process in line with the Pacific technology product group and tools.

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An application assertion

The gospel according to Progress is:

Cloud-centric data-driven software application development must support workflows that align to Real Time Data (RTD) from dispirate sources, other SaaS entities, sensors and all other data points within the Internet of Things...

... and for developers, these workflows must work for mobile, on premise and hybrid apps where minimal coding is required such that the programmer is isolated (as much is as reasonable) from the complexity of middleware, APIs and drivers.

NOTE: That's the CWDN two sentence version, not the Progress PR-lengthened version.

Phil Pead, president and CEO at Progress said, "Taking years to design, write and test code, is no longer tenable. Progress Pacific provides an intuitive, easy to use platform where the complexities of application development and data access are removed, enabling developers and businesses to simply focus on solving their market and business problems."

Pead goes further to explain that Pacific places programmer capabilities in one place to maximise productivity for faster implementation through easier workflows, business logic and data integration.

Apps with built-in real-time access to disparate SaaS, relational database, big data, social, CRM & ERP systems can be developed with one connection using the Pacific rapid application development (RAD) technology and the Pacific data connectivity service.

"Flexible deployment options exist for secure, scalable, multi-tenant applications," said Pead.

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The Progress platform family also consists of the following streams:

DataDirect - integration, NoSQL integration, on premise integration, SaaS integration and big data support
OpenEdge - BPM, JavaScript language tools, mobile, multi tenant cloud DB
Corticon - business rules
Rollbase - tenant management for working in multi-tenant environments, app templates and jumpstarts

NOTE: A new product previewed at the show called Progress Easyl is a patent pending new launch for self-service data integration with point and click usage functionality.

Progress is still a smaller point on the radar than some of the larger behemoth vendors, but it is a growing point, a larger point and an interesting point.

Plus, there's something to be said for a vendor who stages an 800-attendee sized developer event but behaves like there are 4000-plus programmers in the audience. It might be "Progress who?" for some people still, but that response is diminishing.

For more extended analytically perceptive reading you can dig deep on "PaaS to the future at Progress Exchange 2013" by diginomica's Jon Reed.

TIBCO pushes open API economy to start trading

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It's going to be a busy month for TIBCO -- the firm will be busily explaining to "reporters" (that's the American word for journalists, editors, serious technology writers etc.) that its name should remain in capitals and not be written as Tibco.

TIBCO stands for The Information Bus COmpany, so perhaps if we spell it out we'll get the Americans to start using the Queen's English too.

The firm with also be holding its TUCON (TIBCO USER CON-ference, geddit?) event in the US with its accompanying sessions and its climactic TUCONcert end concert (do you see what they did there?) in Las Vegas.
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So the company is all about data transport and application component decisions, processes and information management. It is probably nothing more than timely then that this month also sees the firm launch its TIBCO API Exchange.

This is described as an "integrated solution for implementing an open API business strategy" for firms that want to push their business models towards the new app-centric economy.

APIs: foundational technologies

Company CTO Matt Quinn says that APIs are "foundational technologies" for digital businesses in the 21st century.

"TIBCO API Exchange is going to make it simple for enterprise customers to expand their businesses into new revenue and marketing channels," said Quinn.

So how does it work?

TIBCO API Exchange incorporates a self-service portal for developers to get started and accelerate the on-boarding process and providing business transparency related to the use of open APIs in their applications.

NOTE: The developer portal also provides a fully integrated environment to create, test, document and publish open APIs -- and also here you will find with support for REST-based API styles, plus what is labelled as "seamless" transformation of data and message formats, such as XML and JSON.
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"As companies open up new levels of access to internal data and business functionality through the use of open APIs, they require solutions that provide advanced security enforcement and threat protection, managing and securing access to their data across broad range of platforms and web-based mobile devices," said the company, in a press statement.

TIBCO API Exchange will aim to address this challenge by providing security and access-control capabilities -- as well as event-based policy management.

Examples of policy domains managed by the product include authentication, throttling, content-based message routing, mediation, and message transformation.

TIBCO API Exchange integrates with TIBCO Spotfire analytics server to provide a full range of out-of-the-box analytics and reporting capabilities.

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