The Fifth Beatle of Composite Application Developers


Back in September, I published a couple of excerpts from an internal paper I wrote on Composite Applications (you can read them here, here and here). At the end of my second post, (which I probably should have broken up into 2-3 posts at least) I discussed the four types of Application Composers. If you missed that section, (which would be proof that I should have broken them up) here’s a recap:


1) Business Service Developers - These are IT developers focused on providing value-added common business services to all customer solutions teams. Their technical depth is high and a CAF targeted at these users would be similar to what is provided by SOA today.


2) Customer Solution Developers - These are IT developers focused on creating customer-centric solutions by leveraging software infrastructure. Their technical depth is moderate to high and a CAF targeted at these users would need to abstract away service creation and assembly.


3) Business Analysts - These are customer consultants focused on helping customers determine which business needs are best met with technology. Their technical depth is moderate and a CAF targeted at these users would draw many features from current BPM platforms.


4) End Users - These are the users of the solutions created by customer solutions teams. Their technical depth is low and a CAF targeted at these users would need to abstract away nearly all of the technical aspects of application creation and should provide very intuitive context- and metadata-driven methods for application assembly and customization.


While these still make sense to me, I think I completely missed number five on this list. It’s a bit of a wildcard, and it may not apply to every organization, but I think it will apply to more and more organization in the coming years. Here it is:


5) External Developers – These are developers who reside outside of one’s own IT organization, but who have development expertise that they wish to leverage to create value-added services that benefit your organization. Their primary interest is in consuming available organizational data and recombining this data with external data or services to create new composites not offered or envisioned by the organization itself.


Now I think that the reason I missed this was because I was thinking internal only when laying out a strategy for Composite Applications in my organization. However, my fearless leader and I have been talking at length about creating a framework by which certain subsets of our information (the right information, of course) could be made available to anyone with the wherewithal to create useful services that we never thought of. Thus, our framework for Composite Applications now has another persona to enable.


So what do you think? Is this a valid addition, or did I have it encompassed in another one of the four? Furthermore, is just one more enough? That fifth category encompasses a ton of people, so do I need another for the technically savvy end user who doesn’t write code, but who screams at creating inventive Yahoo! Pipes applications. I suspect that #4 could represent this individual with a slight modification, but what do you think?