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A Look at IT Ideas That Became Common Practice

Joseph Gulla recaps his 2019 posts on significant ideas that took off and became daily practice within IT.

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With my writing in 2019, I was focused on significant ideas that took off and became daily practice within IT. I was also focused deeply on application modernization involving strategies, methods and toolsets. Let’s get started with this recap of these 2019 posts, the last in my series looking back at 2019.

The Path to Common Practice

I have been interested in new ideas that become IT practice for a long time. In this series, I wrote about web hosting, microservices, IBM Z, Linux, online transaction processing (OLTP), Java and protocols like HTTP, as well as APIs and representational state transfer, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and XML. These are some of the big ideas that I have observed in my tenure so far in IT.
 
Here’s a recap of the four posts from 2019 on how ideas end up becoming common practice in IT.
 
1. “The Journey From Idea to Practice in IT Can Be Short” 
This is the first post in this series on how important ideas end up becoming common practice in IT. Not all ideas make this journey and not all do it quickly, but the powerful and timely ones make it, and they provide a fun journey for the participants to change along the way. The focus of this post was two big ideas: web hosting and microservices. Both had a big impact on IT.
 
2. “Journey From Idea to Practice: Computer Architecture and Linux” 
In this post, I found a creative way to tell the story of the last 50 years of computing. Check out the link for my take.
 
3. “Journey From Idea to Practice: OLTP and Java”
This post was focused on OLTP and the Java programming language. I reminisced that in school, they taught us COBOL using the batch-processing model, but as soon as we got our first real jobs, many of us were writing code to run in an online, real-time environment. That was OLTP. For Java, I wrote that IT departments operate in the day-to-day world of IT while planning and preparing for the future. This is the toil of living with technology while it’s in constant change.
 
4. “Journey From Idea to Practice: Internetworking and Protocols” 
In this post, I focused on internetworking and protocols like HTTP, as well as APIs and representational state transfer, SOAP and XML. Again, I reminisced “for some users of IT, it’s not possible to remember a time without accessible internetworking because it was available when they were born. For others, we experienced a time when networking was largely a company tool.”

Application Modernization

In 2019, I also wrote about modernization in its many forms as it has become one of the main themes in IT. It could be updating middleware,  installing a major compiler enhancement or including Java in the programming suite along with—all are a kind of modernization activity.
 
Here’s a recap of the seven posts from 2019 on how we approach application modernization in IT.
 
1. “Strategies, Methods and Toolsets for Modernization” 
This post started a new series about application modernization. I took a fresh look at the topic by taking a more systematic and organized approach with a focus on strategies, methods and a toolset. Strategies are like a plan of action, policies or blueprints. Methods are specific procedures or systematic ways of approaching modernization. And a toolset might consist of procedures, programs, views, schema and data in support of the task of updating or replacing an application. The toolset elements work together to support the modernization task.
 
2. “Survey of Application Modernization Strategies” 
In this post, I looked at surveying application modernization strategies as a plan of action or policy designed to support application modernization efforts. Simply put, a high-level and informed plan of action is needed for any renovation effort.
 
3. “Application Modernization Methods: What’s Useful?” 
This post was focused on methods to carry out the effort that was defined in the strategy work.
 
4. “Application Modernization and Toolsets” 
Here, we looked at toolsets to support modernization activities at all levels, from strategy work through implementation projects like indexed files to database migration, or support for outputs to mobile devices.  
 
5. “Traditional and Nontraditional Approaches to Application Modernization” 
The focus of this post was a discussion of traditional and nontraditional approaches and techniques for application modernization. It’s difficult to imagine modernizing an application without opening up the source code, but when you examine the details behind the nontraditional approaches, you can see the ways they can be used and the benefits they bring. 
 
6. “REST, SOAP, Microservices, Monitoring and Management” 
This post took us on a tour of different aspects of the “outside in” approach, specifically REST and SOAP. I also discussed base programs with Java and other languages, and other layers of software and organization like microservices, monitoring and management control. 
 
7. “Application Modernization Challenges Aren’t Just Technical” 
The last post in this series looked at four crucial components of application modernization: business aspects, organizational opportunities, personnel needs and skills.

More Modernization

In addition, I wrote two articles on modernization for Destination z. These included “Traditional Modernization Shouldn’t Be Overlooked” and “A New Way to Modernize Applications.” 
 
In the first post, we looked at how traditional modernization is the conventional way to modernize business applications. These operational applications can be anything from COBOL on a mainframe to a client-server or web-hosted application with multiple tiers or layers. Traditional modernization involves opening up the application source code and changing it. It’s often associated with intense use of a variety of middleware software components and products.
 
In the next post, we asked, “What is a new way to modernization?” With Java, REST and SOAP are building blocks for a nondisruptive way of harvesting data and application functionality without actually changing the application. The ideas and practices about nontraditional approaches are dominated with discussions of REST and SOAP. Both protocols were developed decades ago, with SOAP emerging in 1998 (deployed as XML-RPC) and REST in 2000 (Roy Fielding’s Ph.D. dissertation). The use of REST and SOAP involve programs that “sit on top of” or “outside of” the application. Java often plays a role in this as the module that invokes the REST and SOAP API calls, but other languages besides Java are also used.

Next Post

Next post, I’ll begin a new series focused on an important topic for IT in 2020.
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