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The i-Technology Right Stuff

Searching for the Twenty Top Software People in the World

 

Don Ferguson

 

Brief Description: Inventor of the J2EE application server at IBM

Further Details:

An IBM Fellow and chief architect for IBM Software Group, Don Ferguson was the original chief architect for the WebSphere family of products. Don joined IBM Research in 1985, and is now the chairman of the Software Group Architecture Board, which oversees the architecture and integration of WebSphere, DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational products.

"One of my goals in life," he blogged recently, "is to teach my daughter (8 years old) and my wife (a dentist) to be able to build meaningful WebSphere applications."

A quality thinker and writer, here is an example of vintage Ferguson:

"I like Java for some things. I have to admit that I like PHP's associative arrays and integral support for simple string/variable behavior. I also think there are metaphors for programming that we need to give to other communities. There is a whole cadre of SQL programmers out there. They need to be able to implement and use services without throwing out what they learned. Some business professionals understand simple flow charts for decisions, decision tables/trees and sequences of if ... then ... Some business schools teach structured english. I am not sure these folks would like PHP or Java. I am struggling with how to surface lots of programming "models," with a focus on matching the concepts and tools with the pre-conceived biases of the community.

I think there is a huge role for XML over HTTP. It is ideal for many, many scenarios. We struggle with the WS-* family of specifications. I have read many of them, and helped write some of them. I do not think that they are as thick as the XML specs but I cannot dispute that the space appears to be complex. We strive for 'composability' and 'incremental consumption,' which we hope allows people to only learn the concepts their applications need."

Ferguson's interests - a refreshingly strange foursome - include "distributed systems, transaction processing, performance, and karate."

Other SYS-CON stories about Don Ferguson:

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson,"The Father of WebSphere" (Part 1)

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson, "The Father of WebSphere" (Part 2)

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson, "The Father of WebSphere" (Part 3)

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Agility Pays 12/09/04 03:34:19 AM EST

There are bound to be glaring omissions in any list. It would have been good to see a few more names from the 17 developers who met in Feb 2001 to discuss problems in software development and who devised the so-called "Agile Manifesto." I see that Martin Fowler is here but what about Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Ron Jeffries, Robert "Uncle bob" Martin, and Dave Thomas - people who have all made substantial contributions to software development?

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