CamelOne 2012 gamifies enterprise integration efforts

CamelOne 2012 will span the gamut from online games to particle acceleration. This is the second annual community event from open source integration giant FuseSource.

This year's CamelOne event will span the gamut from online games to particle acceleration. CamelOne 2012 will occur on May 15-16 of 2012 in Boston, MA. This is the second annual community event from open source integration giant FuseSource.

The event features a keynote presentation from Gamification Co's Gabe Zichermann on how enterprise development shops can learn from the concepts that game developers have honed over decades. This will be followed by a closing session on message queuing at a massive scale from Felix N. Ehm of CERN. Experts and practitioners from the global integration community will also be there presenting practical information on integrating some of the latest enterprise technologies such as cloud architecture and Big Data.

There will even be a session or two about real-time integration, which folks have been talking about for years, but which now, according to FuseSource insiders, some organizations are beginning to make a reality. These sessions and others promise to make CamelOne 2012 exciting as well as informative.

According to Debbie Moynihan, vice president at FuseSource and the event's chief organizer, this year's conference promises to outshine the first CamelOne event – which was held in Washington D.C. in May of 2011. Moynihan worked to bring in a mix of outside speakers to make the event balanced in terms of interesting theoretical sessions versus practical everyday advice.

Gamification of integration development

In anticipation of his gamification keynote, Gabe Zichermann explained some of the tenets and quelled some of the myths of the new app dev buzzword. "Gamification is a process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage the audience and solve problems," Zichermann said. He explained that it's not necessarily about making applications more fun, but rather about making applications more engaging. They do, however, focus on the "three Fs – feedback, friends and fun." According to Zichermann, these three aspects are very important to people and when they all come together in one place, people will seek that place out with their own determination.

Zichermann went on to explain that there are also three major forms of gamification which he likens to design patterns. These are loyalty program design, game design and behavior economics. Loyalty programming is about small periodical steps – points earned for levels and challenges overcome. Behavioral economics is about currency earned by the audience taking certain actions. Using these two guiding concepts, game design builds out the arc of a player's journey to mastery.

The concept of mastery plays well into the goals of the enterprise application. After all, the reason we started building applications in the first place was to help people get their job done and one of the major hurdles to enterprise application success has been improper user engagement. Gamification is, in Zichermann's view, "The best system of engagement we've seen so far."

His talk is planned to go far beyond making applications more engaging. Zichermann is planning on taking those same external gamification concepts and turning them inward on the application development process. Keeping developers interested and engaged in the later stages of a lengthy integration project – when the initial excitement begins to fade and tedium sets in – is a tough but worthwhile challenge. According to Zichermann, gamification works just as well on enterprise developers as it does on end-users and can increase efficiency by helping developers produce higher quality code more quickly.

Other application integration topics

For his part, Felix Ehm will cover CERN's use of ActiveMQ to monitor the large distributed infrastructure it takes to run the Large Hadron Collider, and about the giant grid of computers that CERN pieced together from the donated resources of physics departments around the world. "[Ehm] will provide an overview of the requirements, the architecture, lessons learned, and project achievements – including successfully sending over 50 million messages per day," says Moynihan.

Other important sessions for enterprise architects to check out while at CamelOne 2012 cover topics from application integration with SOA, to cloud integration efforts, to big data and real-time analytics. George Atala, an integration architect at UC Berkley will explain how SOA and integration come together in a broad enterprise architecture to cover many various departments under one umbrella. James Strachan, the creator of the Groovy programming language, will present a session called Riding Camel into the Cloud. Charles Mouiliard, a principal consultant with FuseSource will explain how HTML5 is coming together with WebSocket and Apache open source projects to make real time enterprise applications a real possibility.

There are still more sessions that Moynihan is excited about being able to share with the open source community. She obviously believes in the new axiom ‘community is king.’ "A diverse, thriving community is critical for a successful open source project," said Moynihan. Clearly, that is really what CamelOne is all about.

[Ed. Note: FuseSource is a wholly owned subsidiary of Progress Software. Progress Software announced this week that is was divesting technology assets, including FuseSource and others. Progress expects to complete its divestitures by middle to end of fiscal 2013.]

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