Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/17/e2e/

E2E: even better than sliced bread?

Think croissant

By Philip Howard

Posted in Developer, 17th October 2006 18:53 GMT

Comment E2E Technologies, which stands for 'end-to-end', is a Swiss company in the application integration space and is not to be confused with either e2e Media, which is a marketing company, or E2E, which is a UK government educational initiative.

Its product, the E2E Bridge, can do more than application integration, as we will discuss later, but that is the company's clear focus. So, who is E2E and what is special about it?

E2E was founded in 1996 by two ex-IT directors of the Swiss Bank Corporation, at that time primarily a service company, though the founders already had a vision for an integration product. Subsequently, in 1998 the Swiss Bank Corporation merged with the Swiss Bank Society to form what we now know as UBS. In its wisdom, UBS decided to use SBC's leading edge retail front-end application with SBS's legacy back-end systems which, as you can imagine, involved a significant integration project and it contracted E2E for that purpose and the E2E Bridge, as a product, stemmed from that engagement.

Now, the E2E Bridge is UML (Unified Modelling Language)-based. That is, you build a UML model that describes your integration and then… well, nothing actually, that's it: you just build a UML model!

I can imagine eyebrows raising at this point. They certainly did when I heard about it for the first time. How is this possible?

Well, E2E has built a UML virtual machine, a UVM if you like, which works just like other virtual machines: it executes what it has been designed for, in this case UML models. In other words, in E2E there is no code (well, there is UML byte code that is executed by the UVM but you don't see this), there is nothing to keep synchronised with the design, because there is no code. Let me make this quite clear, in case you haven't got the message: there is no code!

I don't think I need to spell out the advantages of having no code but maybe I should. It means you can do things much faster. Much, much faster. Which means it costs less. And it is easier to maintain. Much, much easier. Which means it costs even less than less, Need I go on? Well, one more thing: UML is self documenting, and since the UML diagrams are the application (in effect) then so is the documentation (ditto).

Of course, the bright sparks amongst you will already have guessed that if all you have to do is build UML diagrams and then execute them, then you are not limited to using this for application integration and, indeed, E2E has users amongst its dozen or so customers that are using the technology for general-purpose application development as well, but that is clearly not the company's target market.

E2E is relatively small but has interesting partners. The product embeds No Magic's MagicDraw for the purposes of creating the UML models and No Magic is also reselling the E2E Bridge; as is Adaptive, the now US-based but originally UK repository vendor. IDS Scheer is also a partner.

I asked in the title of this article whether E2E was even better than sliced bread? I don't know who invented the expression "the best thing since sliced bread" but whoever it was, was an idiot. I grant you that it is convenient but anyone who has ever been in a boulangerie will know that it hardly compares with the real thing.

Anyway, how does E2E compare to sliced bread? Well, frankly, Tibco and WebMethods and other vendors doing traditional application integration things are more like sliced bread, E2E is more comparable to a freshly baked croissant, perhaps the epitome of the baker's art.

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