Lego blocks: the new IT cool kid

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Lego blocks: the new IT cool kid
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Turning it up a notch

Then you’ve got IT shops who are taking the lego block approach to the next level.

Online bank ING Direct recently became the first known Australian customer of Google’s Polymer application tool-kit, which it has partnered with a customised version of the API Blueprint platform to make building and deploying applications a lot easier.

Polymer - Google’s open-source application development library for the web - forms part of Google’s efforts to give users an app-like experience on the web, offering developers interoperable custom elements to create standardised apps faster.

ING Direct is in the midst of a move from the ASP.Net framework and SOAP (simple object access protocol) to Polymer as the base of all its apps and websites.

But in order for Polymer to interact easily with ING’s backend, the bank needed some sort of string to tie all its lego blocks together - which led it to the API Blueprint open source web API language.

ING customised the tool - which is essentially a fake API plugging one way into a test function or website - to make it link back into its backend services and systems.

This ‘robot’, as ING calls it, now takes the requirement of writing code out of the developer’s hands and automates the process. It’s cut down the architecture team’s development time by half.

“In this fashion a prototype is essentially a working version of the assembled application. The intent is to reduce the degree of human involvement in the delivery process,” ING head of strategy Ben Issa told iTnews.

ING has taken a risk with this technology - it’s very new, and has been labelled as “embryonic” by Gartner in its Hype Cycle publication.

But Issa is willing to take the plunge. He believes the move will set the bank up for the future of the web.

“The [future web] is about performance, standards-based implementation, security and device agnosticism,” he said.

“We have positioned the channel architecture such that achieving this is second nature, the focus is now squarely on customer experience and function.

“We no longer build applications. We have, and are enriching, a module market sourced from industry and the ING global community. Modules are assembled into applications as the business requires.”

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