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Rick Barton

Hello and welcome to my blog. I am delighted to blog for the BeyeNETWORK, and I'm really looking forward to sharing some of my thoughts with you. My main focus will be data integration, although I don't plan to restrict myself just to this topic. Data integration is a very exciting space at the moment, and there is a lot to blog about. But there is also a big, wide IT and business world out there that I'd like to delve into when it seems relevant. I hope this blog will stimulate, occasionally educate and, who knows, possibly even entertain. In turn, I wish to expand my own knowledge and hope to achieve this through feedback from you, the community, so if you can spare the time please do get involved. Rick

About the author >

Rick is the director (and founder) at edexe. He has more than 20 years of IT delivery experience, ranging from complex technical development through to strategic DI consultancy for FTSE 100 companies. With more than 10 years of DI experience from hands-on development to architecture and consulting and everything in between, Rick’s particular passion is how to successfully adopt and leverage DI tools within an enterprise setting. Rick can be contacted directly at

Happy New Year to all

It's been quite a while since my last post, a some of which is due to me having to spend time getting to grips technically with my latest data integration interest; Talend, who are the market leaders in open source data integration.

When I first began to seriously look at Talend early last year, I expected that it would not take too long to master, given that I have a long history of using data integration tools.  The fact of the matter though is that it took me much longer than expected, not because of the usability of the product (it is in fact simple to use) or because it is different to what I was used to (to some degree) but because of its scale.  It has a huge number of connectors, components and orchestration methods, each of which can be configured in a number of ways, making it very, very flexible and very big!

Talend is also very extensible.  Being Java based, Talend allows developers to "reach into" the world of Java in order to create new code fragments and shared routines that are then exposed within the product as additional features.

It is also possible to create new connectors and components using JavaJet and whilst this is not required for many projects it is a very useful means of creating re-usable code.  Testament to this is that there are at least as many downloadable community components as there are within the main product release.

To be honest, the whole Java thing took me a while to come to terms with and I kept asking "why do I have to learn Java in order to use a data integration tool?".  It just didn't feel right, but then eventually it dawned on me.  All DI tools have some internal, often proprietary, scripting language that has to be used for handling more complex requirements, so why not Java?  It is open, incredibly rich, well established and it has a thriving community that is constantly extending the product......perfect.

Getting over that mental hurdle shed a whole new light on the Talend/Java relationship and I finally began to embrace Java as the scripting language, making the whole process of understanding what "really makes Talend tick" much, much easier.

I am now a big fan of Talend.  It is pretty easy to pick up and run with and for many applications only a smattering of Java would needed (Talend does provide some functions out of the box).  It has a huge range of connectors to many databases and business packages, a thriving community and it is being extended day on day.  For many organisations it would probably integrate across their whole heterogeneous environment without any customisation required, but should customisation be needed there is the whole, vast, Java language to pick and choose from, which is no bad thing at all.

I have to confess that I have only told part of the story at this point in that I have only touched very lightly on Talend within this blog. 

When referring to Talend, I have been referring to the company's integration offerings (open studio and integration studio).  In the last year Talend has also added Data Quality and Master Data Management tools to their portfolio of developed products and recently acquired Sopera to extend their product into the middleware space.

So Talend is so much more diverse than I expected, both within the integration product and without and has all the capabilities I would expect from any serious player in the data integration market.

Posted January 7, 2011 2:51 PM
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