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perspectives on open-source and web services

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


VERY important for anyone as excited as I am about Web Services is this article from cio.com which explains all the caution and requirements that should be applied to the hype of Web Services. the note about REST web services deserves special attention, since I think it touches on a very important nerve that most of us SOAP-aholics need to be realistic about...

First, to appease or playcate to SOAP-aholics like myself, know that SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, and WS-* most assuredly have their places in the complex distributed systems of the future. But, SOAP and the associated header stacks like WS-Security and the like are very much complicating the originally simplistic scope of Web Services.

For now, at least, Web Services should start slowly on simple distributed application integration. Rather than get caught up in the craze of ripping out entire existing systems and replacing them with a mass of UDDI registries of BPEL-based WS processes, let the industry get used to and fully utilize REST as a WS protocol.

It encourages interest, and when some of the message-centric, highly evolved business processes start requiring a distributed systems approach, SOAP and its related technologies will be more established, and more approachable by developers.

I used to be a die-hard SOAP advocate, but after building a couple HTTP-based web services, I have seen how easy it is in comparison to SOAP and WSDL. The kind of systems I was building were indeed simpler systems, and a complex business process like complete B2B procurement obviously requires the orchestration of BPEL as enabled by SOAP, but take REST for a spin and enjoy the simple treasures of Web Services.


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