|By Yakov Fain||
|July 18, 2005 08:45 AM EDT||
Several years ago I was thinking about buying a small gas station in my local town. I went to my friend Gregory Z., a successful businessman in this field, and asked him, "How do I start a gasoline business?" He gave me simple but wise advice: "You know nothing about gas, but know a lot about computers. Keep doing what you're doing. Just be a little better than others".
I'm trying to follow his advice but I keep thinking how would I apply my software skills had I bought such a business. So here I am again asking for your help, advice, and experience: let's automate my virtual gas station.
I've borrowed the money from a bank and now I have:
- A four-car gas station
- A small convenience store (coffee, cigarettes, milk, newspapers)
- A repair shop that changes oil, brake pads, and tires
- Six employees: one American, two from India, one from Russia, and two from Pakistan; one employee speaks English, and the others speak well in their native languages. I think they have work permits.
- Three decent Wintel computers
- $1,000 USD software budget
The only difference between my gas station and Wal-Mart is that they have more suppliers, sell more products, and have more customers. But I'm facing similar challenges: I need to deal with various suppliers of gas, food products, and car parts. I also need to have accounting and payroll systems. That's why I'm planning to architect a system that has different services communicating with each other. I need a service-oriented architecture (SOA).
In a perfect world, all service providers use the same protocol, which is as challenging as having all my employees use only the English language. My employees are trying hard, because for them it's a matter of surviving. Initially they are exposing just a minimal number of public services like fillItUp, getCash, processPlastic, marlboroLightsPlease, oilChange, and takeTip. Smarter employees quickly add more services to their vocabulary to become more competitive. Each of these coarse-grained services may consist of several smaller steps, but consumers don't need to know about them.
When the guy who sold me the business gave me a pile of different forms to use with suppliers, I thought to myself, "Tight coupling in action." I need to know where these suppliers are located, their services, and how to request them. If a particular vendor changes its request form (the protocol), I'll need to get a new one, otherwise I may lose this service. I'd rather be sending a message to some destination saying, "Yakov needs 1,000 gallons of 93-octane gasoline." Expected response: several price quotes from different vendors. This would be an example of decoupled services. I don't know who they are and they don't know who I am, but we've dynamically discovered each other. I've heard that Jini could help me with this. Is this right? Anyway, in a loosely coupled system a service requestor needs to know the name of the service, what data to provide, and what to expect back, but it should be easy to switch from one provider to another.
Messaging and Transport
One of the best ways to request and receive services is by using asynchronous messaging. JMS is an excellent API, but you still need a transport to deliver your messages between the services, for example, message-oriented middleware (MOM). IBM and Tibco offer great MOM products, but I'd need to sell my gas station and get another loan just to pay for it. No, I need to find something for free.
Web services seems to be a decent way to arrange my interaction with external suppliers using a free Internet-HTTP-WSDL-UDDI-SOAP combo. If my external vendors will start publishing their gasoline-tires-milk quotes, I'll write a program that will automatically be looking for the best deal in my neighborhood. Can Eclipse IDE help me with automatic generation of all supporting files for Web services?
OOP Plus AOP
It goes without saying that I'm thinking objects (thank you, Bruce). When I close my eyes, I clearly see the classes Product, Order, and Customer…but after reading about aspect-oriented programming (AOP) these objects become blurry. But AOP is a way to go and I'll dig more in this direction.
Storing My Data
I need a free DBMS. It doesn't have to be fancy and implement sophisticated SQL constructs. Inner and outer joins plus indexing will do. Coding business logic in stored procedures is not in fashion these days. Hibernate looks nice for object-relational mapping. Is this my best option?
For thin Web clients I'm planning to learn AJAX. If Google did it, so can I. How about rich clients? Swing is not there yet; SWT looks better; .NET is the best but isn't free. Should I spend my money on VB.NET? But I don't know VB! Let me ask my Russian employee Alex if he knows it. He looks like a PhD (does he really have a work permit?).
I'd love to hear your input to this new column. You don't need to write any code, but rather suggest some affordable tools and architectural solutions for my small business. Just provide your feedback to the online version of this article at http://jdj.sys-con.com/read/108260.htm.
|Tamizhan 07/16/07 02:49:46 AM EDT|
It may be a very late mail to suggest your small business solutions.I believe that the following open source softwares can be used to create cross platform multitiered application for any small business.
OS : Linux
Fron End : JSPs,Struts,Ajax.
Back End : MySQL or DBMaker
Middleware : Stateless Session Bean,MDB,Java Webservice
Server : JBoss
Object Relational Mapping : Hibernate
Logging : Log4J
IDE : Eclipse,Netbeans
Build tool : Ant
Version Control : CVS
Bug Reporting tool : Bugzilla
Many Systems running successfully using the above mentioned tools.I don't know the Free MOM tools and Content Management tools.
Developers : Free Lance Programmers!. If you make BIG MONEY after successful Launch of Business or Application,You can PAY money to Free Lance Programmers.
|Gabriel 12/21/05 03:34:53 PM EST|
Many people here didn't get the point quite right. 1st, there is no gas station. 2nd, this article is about trying to find ways to build an IT infrastructure for small business, which are low on budget. What development tools and technologies best fit in this scenario? Based on this, what is the best way to acomplish the needed tasks? Remember, this article is about how to develop software for the small business, using open source software¹, based on the same technologies used by the big guys.
¹ I think open standards are more important than open sourse, but none of them are problems for Java.
|nick patel 12/13/05 03:49:44 PM EST|
plese let me know how much cost to build new gas station plese email or call 865 690 4670
|nick patel 12/13/05 03:49:39 PM EST|
plese let me know how much cost to build new gas station plese email or call 865 690 4670
|nick patel 12/13/05 03:49:38 PM EST|
plese let me know how much cost to build new gas station plese email or call 865 690 4670
|Ted Weismann 09/14/05 05:26:14 PM EDT|
For the front end, have you considered using Sun's Java Studio Creator? It combines 100% Java standards with visual programming, e.g. JavaServer Faces for visual UI design and simplified coding, JDBC Rowsets for drag-and-drop data access and visual query building, and Java API for XML Web services, for simplified access to WSDL based services. It includes drag-and-drop UI design and access to databases and Web services, as well as visual page flow design - all for $99.
|Jay 09/07/05 09:05:21 PM EDT|
Try using ServiceMix which is an open source Enterprise service bus product by Apache. Its very nice tool for integration and they use JBI (Java Business Integration) and JSR 208 and EDA (Event Driven Architecture) which makes it best ESB framework for SOA i.e SOA + EDA. You can deploy this on JBOSS which is also open source application server.
|moshe sheleg 08/29/05 06:08:05 AM EDT|
Regarding you gas station software needs, i would be happy to offer our services.
Please visit http://www.siteron.com for more information.
Do what you do best, outsource the rest...
|Yakov 08/05/05 01:53:20 PM EDT|
Having done both Java Swing and .Net, why you do not recommend .Net? What's wront with it?
Also, what's so good about JBoss in terms of monitoring? JMX is available in any J2EE compliant server. I wonder what kind of monitoring JBoss provides off the shelf that does not require additional programming?
|Greg 08/04/05 02:29:14 PM EDT|
Interesting way to write an article. It will be fun to see how it turns out.
Looks like you are trying to determine some tools to use first. You should probably define your business needs first. Anyway, here are some suggestions for tools...
For the front end, you asked about using either .Net or Java. I'm currently using both Java and .Net. I have a lot of Java Swing experience and some (<6mo) experience with .Net. From what I've seen of .Net 1.1, I would go with Java unless you find a Windows specific need that you cant solve in Java. If you don't need a super-rich front end, you should just make it a web-based client.
If you are looking for free databases consider MySQL or Cloudscape. However, those are only relational databases. Why not consider using a OO DB?
Another thing you will need is a good way to run, configure and monitor your system. Since you are looking for free open source stuff, you should look at JBoss. It makes a great micro-kernal for running Java as Managed Beans. JBoss lets you control and monitor the beans with JMX.
|Bill McCuistion 07/29/05 09:19:02 AM EDT|
1. You won't be the same as the others, as you'll use your JAVA skills to integrate your unique twists into the QB framework, such as your SOAP service for scouting lowest-cost / best value suppliers. JAVA works just fine with the QBSDK, which is XML-based. Included in the QBSDK is a SOAP-to-COM bridge, so your JAVA code can run anywhere.
2. When you sell the station next year, you'll likely retain a consulting contract to maintain the custom apps you developed. You'll also likely be able to negotiate a higher sales price due to the increased profitability due to your "special" integratons with QB for general accounting, purchaing, point-of-sale, credit card processing, payroll processing and customer relationship managment.
3. Run QB on Linux using Cross-Over Office. Use LAMP/J for apps. OpenBooks, the open-source alternative to Quicken is not really (yet) an alternative to QB, and you've now got a gas station to run. You'll have enough to keep you busy with the add-in modules to not have to worry about how the system calculates sales taxes, payroll taxes and on-line banking using OFX. In other words, use Open Source where it makes sense, and use the classic "Make or Buy" decision to guide that decision. $800 for the QB/POS package license gets you a lot of functionality in an accounting system.
As for your need to mix purposes with the magizine articles, the other stakeholders in the gas station might not be happy with sub-optimization of the gas-station business for your side-line businesses.
4. The decision to use QB is not at all different from using SAP (or Lawson or whatever) and needing to integrate with it, except that the little guy usually can not take the risk of custom development in the same way the the big guy does.
Look for the competitive advantage where you can get it. Make the other guys *think* you're running a stock version of QB. Make them wonder how you keep finding the best purchasing deals. Make them wonder why you have customer loyalty and are able to charge a premium for regular gas. Make them wonder why this and that. Let them make mistakes, while you take baby-steps learning to run a gas-station. Join a local gas-station owners support group, so you can pick-up tricks. Listen to their pain-points, which will give you ideas on how technology might help you prevent / address them before they become your pain points.
You will have a hard time being a consultant to yourself. Get your chart-of-accounts in order. Get your item master set-up. Get your vendor list set-up and get manilla files going too. Get your bar-coder and credit card reader working. You're in retail and need to at least last a year.
BTW -- Reportedly, the largest concentration of bootleg QB software is in the former Soviet countries. It's very likely that your help already knows how to use QB. It was an easy switch from Communism to Capitalism for most of those guys. If the CIA had dropped QB into the Soviet Union 20-years ago, the cold war might have ended a lot sooner.
|Yakov Fain 07/29/05 08:46:56 AM EDT|
I like Bill's comment!
Most likely QuickBooks can solve most of my needs, but...
|Bill McCuistion 07/28/05 01:01:19 PM EDT|
Dude! Get a copy of QuickBooks and the QB Point-of-Sale system and be done with it!
Then, if you need to integrate applications, there's a great SDK that let's you do this.
Now, I didn't write QuickBooks, and don't really wish to have to defend it, but if you've got to sell gas and need an immediate off-the-shelf solution in your price range, then go to Best Buy and get the QBPOS bundle, which also comes with a Dell computer.
|Branden 07/26/05 06:56:18 PM EDT|
Seems like a few assumptions in the article were a little.. off base.
Using tomcat, hibernate, mysql, a free operating system, and OS jms products you should be able to do this project with a minimal budget.
|jay patel 07/25/05 10:27:56 PM EDT|
jms: many open source products available (jboss,objectweb???,etc)
|Scott Fingerhut 07/21/05 12:27:00 AM EDT|
AJAX? Check out InfoWorld's Jon Udell speaking to TIBCO and recording a live demo of the AJAX tool TIBCO General Interface -- something anyone can use (without a Google budget) to develop compelling rich internet applications.
Here's a link to the InfoWorld blog: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/05/25.html
Interested in getting your hands on the priority preview version? Join the AJAX Accelerator Program: http://www.tibco.com/mk/2005/gi.jsp
|James Brockman 07/20/05 09:27:07 AM EDT|
>> For thin Web clients I'm planning to learn AJAX. If Google did it, so can I. How about rich clients? Swing is not there yet; SWT looks better; .NET is the best but isn't free. Should I spend my money on VB.NET? But I don't know VB! Let me ask my Russian employee Alex if he knows it. He looks like a PhD (does he really have a work permit?). <<
Actually, .NET is free, it's just Visual Studio.NET you pay for. Download the .NET SDK from MSDN, then for rich client development download SharpDevelop at http://sharpdevelop.com, or opt for ASP.NET WebMatrix at http://www.asp.net/webmatrix/ if you're thinking of browser front-ends to your apps. Then, enjoy.
SharpDevelop's support for VB is secondary to its C# support, but not only is SharpDevelop open source, but it is not limited to .NET projects.
|JDJ News Desk 07/20/05 08:02:08 AM EDT|
Small Business Solutions. Several years ago I was thinking about buying a small gas station in my local town. I went to my friend Gregory Z., a successful businessman in this field, and asked him, 'How do I start a gasoline business?' He gave me simple but wise advice: 'You know nothing about gas, but know a lot about computers. Keep doing what you're doing. Just be a little better than others'.
|Mark 07/20/05 07:43:30 AM EDT|
Having done plenty of Java and VB6(<) and .Net, I would say that Swing is more than there and .Net is definitely not better(overall). If decide you do want to do .Net DON'T do VB.Net. Do C#, if you have a Java background.
For doing AJAX, I would suggest looking Echo2.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Feb. 25, 2017 09:00 PM EST Reads: 9,118
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Feb. 25, 2017 08:00 PM EST Reads: 13,554
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Feb. 25, 2017 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,912
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Feb. 25, 2017 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,805
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Feb. 25, 2017 07:00 PM EST Reads: 8,818
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Feb. 25, 2017 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,687
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
Feb. 25, 2017 06:45 PM EST Reads: 1,936
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
Feb. 25, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 2,174
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Feb. 25, 2017 06:00 PM EST Reads: 7,694
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Feb. 25, 2017 05:45 PM EST Reads: 2,218
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
Feb. 25, 2017 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,531
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Feb. 25, 2017 05:00 PM EST Reads: 2,936
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Feb. 25, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,739
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...
Feb. 25, 2017 04:15 PM EST Reads: 1,826
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Feb. 25, 2017 03:30 PM EST Reads: 2,499
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Feb. 25, 2017 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,594
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
Feb. 25, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 1,758
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Feb. 25, 2017 02:15 PM EST Reads: 2,309
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
Feb. 25, 2017 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,744
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Feb. 25, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 4,066