Does my bus look big in this? Martin Fowler and Jim Webber debunk middleware

Entertaining session to close a slightly disappointing first day at Qcon in London. Martin Fowler and Jim Webber from ThoughtWorks discussed the history of application integration: how to get diverse applications on diverse platforms talking to each other and sharing data.

TIBCO, BizTalk, webMethods, you name it, “they’re a pain in the neck to use”, said Webber.

Enterprise Service Bus? Should be called the “Erroneous Spaghetti Box”. SOA? “A dog’s breakfast.”

According to Fowler and Webber, the Web is the answer. “The dumbness of the internet is a real win…it allows you to do things that you did not think of.” The Web is ubiquitous middleware, incremental and low risk.

Squid is your Enterprise Bus … We’re not going to need all this crazy middleware that middleware vendors try to sell us. We don’t like ESBs … The big up-front middleware approach just isn’t very sensible.

Right or wrong? To me, the question to ask of these complex middleware products (and I don’t want to pre-judge the answer) is this: what can I do with this, that I can’t do without it, or do equally well with a simpler solution?