Exclusive: Software AG crossvision suite takes on SOA
Closely integrated mix of Java, XML gives nonprogrammers a leg up on service creation
The Studio’s graphical designer is what really makes crossvision accessible to less-experienced programmers. It can represent a sequence document’s XML as either a flow diagram or a tree diagram. You edit statements by clicking on the nodes of the tree and altering properties; add new statements by clicking on predefined “insertion points” that appear in the graph as red, highlighted nodes placed on the arcs between statement blocks.
I found Studio very easy to use. It has a project-based paradigm; typically, a project translates to a single service that will ultimately be deployed to a crossvision site. After you get the hang of Software AG’s XML language, the rest of the learning curve is pretty much the same as any large-scale system. You have to explore that API — sort of like exploring a garage full of tools — to figure out what’s available to you.
When your sequence document is ready to test, you can run it through the Studio’s debugger. The debugger moves easily between the text and graphical representations of the application. You can set break points, single-step, view component properties, examine the effects on the document at each step, and so on.
After you’ve decided your new service passes muster, another few clicks in the Orchestrator Studio will deploy your new service to the crossvision installation, and it’s ready to be used.
At your service
Software AG’s crossvision is, if anything, extensive. This is simultaneously a strength and a weakness. On one hand, the odds are very good that whatever your specific SOA-related needs are, some constituent of crossvision will meet them. Aside from its impressive integration, crossvision’s graphical UI and pre-built components combine to make the construction of an SOA site something even less-experienced programmers can do.
Click for larger view.
These are easily corrected problems, however. And despite its somewhat complex setup, crossvision’s payoff comes in its ease of use. Working with Orchestrator Studio was straightforward; I had no difficulty modifying example sequences and deploying them to the crossvision Web site on my system.
Any organization with large volumes of information sequestered in disparate apps, or documents whose lifetimes do not reach past their trajectories from source to destination, would do well to examine Software AG’s crossvision. Based on the exercises I put a portion of it through, I’d say it provides the whip you need to corral your documents, as well as all the morphing tools necessary to transform data from those documents into the formats your enterprise requires.