Developing Collaborative Applications for the Peer Web using Adaptive XML

Jeffrey Kay <jkay@engenia.com>
Chief Technology Officer, Engenia Software Inc.

B2B Collaboration
Building Strong Relationships

Collaboration

Collaboration is about people, processes and projects
Collaboration systems must be able to adapt to change
People require proactive, event-driven, contextual, and adaptable information to avoid information overload
Processes and projects need meaningful and useful information that can be automatically processed in an appropriate fashion
Enterprises and people must be able to directly and easily connect to each other with minimal integration
Distributed processes must be able to span between enterprises, creating virtual workflows

B2B Collaboration Is Transitioning From Centralized To Distributed

B2B and Peer Technology

By using the Internet to bundle products with related information and services, creative companies can improve their effectiveness and efficiency of their clients businesses. By doing so, the will be able to forge strong, long-lasting client relationships that will de-emphasize product price and exchange-based transactions.
Harvard Business Review, Beyond the Exchange, November-December 2000
Peer technology enables enterprises to forge the strong, long lasting relationships needed to succeed in todays market

peer \pir\ n.

1 : one that is of equal standing with another : EQUAL; esp : one belonging to the same societal group esp. based on age, grade or status

A Definition of P2P

P2P means many things
Content distribution networks between individuals
Cycle sharing systems for computationally intense tasks
File sharing between devices
Collaboration systems
Instant messaging
A clear definition is key to success implementation of peer technology in an enterprise

p2p \pir too pir\ n. a virtual network of functionally similar nodes created using an alternate, often private, namespace

p2p n. a virtual network of functionally similar nodes created using an alternate, often private, namespace

Important concepts
Connectivity is implied in the definition
Intermediaries dont imply lack of purity
Functionally similar doesnt mean exactly equal
Alternate namespaces step outside the realm of DNS
Namespaces could be user or system generated

The Significance of P2P

Services at the edge of the network that
Increase user autonomy and empowerment
Enable the easy distribution of new services
Enhance relationships between enterprises and between individuals by reducing the reliance on centralized exchanges and e-hubs
and improve the overall power and scalability of the Web

Focus of Peer Web Technology

Discovery
Provide named access to edge services
Locate and services that do not have a fixed IP address
Connectivity
Transfer information between edge nodes without interruption by intermediaries (firewalls)
Standard message formats for common service access
Security
Identify trusted peers and users
Ensure non-repudiation of transactions
Maintain privacy of transactions

Not the Focus

Illegal distribution of content
Napster and Gnutella educated the market about peer technology but generally do not represent it
Circumvention of IT
Empowerment does not have to be about hopping firewalls
Enterprises need to be educated and evaluate the applicability of peer technology
Arbitrarily Creating Standards
Much of todays web technology is applicable to the peer web
Some additions enhance the ability for edge nodes to interconnect

B2B Collaboration
Building Strong Relationships

B2B Collaboration
Building Strong Relationships

B2B Collaboration
Building Strong Relationships

B2B and Peer Technology

Todays open standards provide solid components for creating peer based B2B collaboration systems
XML applied as an information interchange vehicle
Scripts joined with XML to create portable business logic
Complex, adaptive system structure to create independent, cooperative, collaborative applications that sharing of data and business rules

Applying Peer Technology to the Web

Discovery
Identify new entities in the web
Connectivity
Easily network in new enterprises and partners
Adaptability
Adjust automatically to new entity types, additional nodes
Scalability
Distribute the processing among the partners to reduce central server burden

Implementation Approach

Distributed Web Services
HTTP and XML as basic plumbing
Relationship Model
Long-lived links between entities in the system
Adaptive application development model
The system grows dynamically as the number of participants increases
New elements can be introduced without requiring changes to the existing ones

Adaptive XML

Supplants the traditional "business logic in a box" mentality and moves towards a more common environment where the business logic can be directly part of the data it is expected to manipulate
Unique characteristic of being a dynamic entity, not a static data construct
Combines the ability of XML information interchange with scripted behaviors to enable intelligence and collaboration
An important approach to developing collaborative systems because entities can have the opportunity to adapt to their environment by changing their own properties or evolving new, more complex behaviors

Adaptive XML

Representational entities describe business constructs and their corresponding behaviors
People
Activities
Processes and process steps
External events
Functional entities provide services to other functional and representational entities
Search services
Connectivity services

Adaptive XML Application Model

Characteristics of Adaptive XML

Environmental awareness
Autonomy
Reactivity
State

Environmental Awareness

Relationships define nearby entities
Context is asserted by relating multiple Adaptive XML streams to each other
Bidirectionality of relationships with verbs provides context and semantics
Event handlers accept environmental notifications

Autonomy

Autonomous and scheduled operations
Allows systems to begin to work for users
Moves systems from user-demand-driven to more autonomous operation
Entities can change based on non-user events changes in the weather, fluctuations of the stock market, news events
User moves from demanding content to examining a snapshot of the state of a model

State

Adaptive XML is not static
It is intended to be changed based on the business rules contained within its set of defined behaviors
Changes to the XML reflect its current state
Behaviors with the XML can be defined to operate in context of the current state
Adaptive XML will naturally change state as it is used to implement collaborative applications
Tasks can record completion
New information can be related and added to the system
Events can be triggered based on changes

Reactivity

Reactivity is the ability to respond to changes and to adapt accordingly
Todays XML schemas are not intelligent at all most target basic information interchange
Adaptive XML begins to add intelligent behavior to information the XML can change to react to the world around it
New properties added as needed without schema redefinition
Recalculations based on characteristics of neighbors (e.g. computing the state of a project based on the total collection of task end dates and statuses)

Skeleton Adaptive XML

XML Architecture

Node Architecture

Applications for B2B Collaboration

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR)
Supply Chain Logistics Collaboration
eXtended Relationship Management (XRM)
Partner management
Client management
Vendor management

The Business Internet

Adaptive XML helps companies fulfill the promise of the Business Internet with adaptive collaborative systems
Much more complex systems can evolve over time
More enterprises can participate more easily in systems that are designed to adapt to change
Systems can adopt new enhancements and still participate in existing workflows and processes
B2B collaboration begins to scale as systems decentralize

Peer Technology is the Centerpiece of B2B Collaboration

Successful B2B is all about relationships and peer technology makes it happen
Capabilities of B2B collaborative systems come together to help enterprises form tight relationships
Enterprises provide more value to each other by developing long lasting relationships and working cooperatively
Long lasting relationships are established through peering rather than through centralized exchanges

Pointers

XMLP www.w3.org
W3Cs efforts to fully standardize SOAP
P2PWG www.p2pwg.org
Working Group for Peer to Peer technology
Decentralization www.yahoogroups.com
Where the P2P geeks go
Jeffrey Kay <jkay@engenia.com>
Engenia Software Inc.
www.engenia.com