Jay Walters

Web Services,
Old Idea New Implementation

Have you heard about how web services will soon change the world?

Take UDDI for example.  Vendors will register their web services with a central directory and clients can dynamically locate and invoke services.

Maybe you remember how salespeople and trainers hawking CORBA used to speak of the CORBA Trading Service.  CORBA provided dynamic discover of services and the Trading Service was where clients and servers discovered each other.

How about building services using Tuxedo, DCE or MQ before CORBA?  The idea of a service oriented architecture isn't a new thing.

In fact it's good practice to build reusable services.  Services decouple clients from the services and allow implementations to be separately changed.  Using the ubiqitous HTTP for these services is a great idea.  Getting HTTP through corporate firewalls is standard practice as is the use of SSL for encryption of the data.

But how many companies want to build core business systems around dyamic discovery and invocation of services.  In theory it sounds great to not use fixed services or fixed service providers, but when you actually implement a system it needs to tested and signed off.  Can and will the groups with that authority accept responsibility for the system working with unknown services which may not be 100% compatible.

If you consider you suppliers, how many will provide the exact same interfaces to their services?  For example, will an ordering service fail an order if the requested quantity is not available, or will it create a partial order?

Another existing standard in this space is EDI.  EDI provides standard message formats for certain common business transactions.  There are multiple competing standards for most of these messages.

I think in the future we'll continue to see more of the same.  New ways to create and connect services, but few business able to adopt the proposed model of dynamic discovery and invocation of these services.

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