What happened to our Integration Framework when it became open source?


My opinion .......

Introduction

The Ibis Adapter Framework was initiated at the Nationale Nederlanden insurance company somewhere around 2002 when a small group of developers needed to create yet another Java based connection between a portal and a backend system. The shortage of Java developers and the sheer number of connections that needed to be made led to way of working where adapters were configured in XML and the underlying java classes were made by the small group of developers.

Growth

After this phase of life, loads of technical connections were created and the service bus was introduced. The need for service management support arose and the struts framework came into play. The birth of the service management console was there. Step by step extra functionality was added to the console pages: statistics; resend mechanism; logfile viewer; error and message stores and so on. Most of this nice functionality was created in the spare time of the developers.

Maturity

Near to 200 ibis applications were running providing thousands of services processing millions of messages every week. The SOA environment totally running on Ibises as we call them. We were working in a team of 10 onshore developers and the same amount of offshore developers in India. Peer review was the key in successfully working with the offshore team, the nice thing about ibis is you can easily read what someone has created as it is an xml and there is no place to hide buggy code. We improved our build process, added test and debug tooling for developers, testers and service management. We as a team do the second and third line support on Ibises as well as the support on the Framework. A lot of functionality is added in this period fase.

Decline

Management of Nationale Nederlanden decided it was time to replace IAF with Tibco AMX, the centralised team was split up and Tibco components and developers were “popping up like mushrooms in autumn” (nice Dutch to english translation) The use of ibis applications was still prefered within the service management organisation but only allowed in cases where Tibco was not at its best. We were still supporting over 100 IAF applications and occasionally we created some new sender and listeners to the framework.

In the year 2013 IAF was contributed to the opensource community.

Integration Partners started investing in the now open source project. Focus shifted from slowly maintaining the framework to full lifecycle management, getting rid of struts framework; rewrite of the REST support upgrading all kind of libraries; moving from cvs to git, Ant to Maven. We now support Websphere (7,8 Liberty Profile), Tomcat, jboss, elastic beanstalk, it can be run anywhere on any java environment.

New Introduction fase

So now we have a new product, still supporting the old ibis applications without a problem. Our Focus is on supporting native cloud features, getting our product ready to be used in devops environment and full REST API support.

Conclusion

Donating your software to the open source community will possibly restart its lifecycle.

Thanks for reading