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perspectives on open-source and web services

Sunday, February 06, 2005

quite a story?

apparently, Gates's letter is quite the story for the IT community. I have been under the illusion that the IT community is moving AWAY from redmond, and that MS is now more seen as just another vendor, rather than THE vendor. I hope all this attention is just due to the obligatory press level that journals must give to MS, and not indicative of an IT community still reliant on MS to provide all the answers. while MS is moving in the right direction - XML Web Services, they are not the only ones doing so, nor are they the best at it.

like I said in my last entry, one of the great things about XML is that it is completely cross-platform, so much less concern is needed for what OS you're running.

back in the pre-browser-based-apps days, you always wanted to go Microsoft, because that was the platform most people had. but even when you chose Windows, you had to do a lot of work to make the program interoperable with other version of Windows. interoperability at this time meant your program could run on different versions of Windows, or maybe even Mac, and communicate with the same program running on a different Windows or Mac platform.

then, with browser-based apps, you could write software that anyone could use thru a browser over the internet. interoperability at this point is/was largely ignored, I think. people think/thought that because the app runs thru a browser, interoperability was a non-issue. but that's only if one confines the scope of interoperability to be user-based interoperability.

XML Web Services systems are built to allow your system to be used by not just human users, but also by other systems. as such, they require the next phase in interoperability. interoperability for other producers of applications, rather than just the user. if you write your applications to deliver their information via XML Web Services, you have made your system interoperable (in theory, of course) enough to be used by all other systems.

but likewise, you also now have the ability to use Amazon, eBay, and Google services in your OWN applications, with no concern for what platforms they are running. IF your application is for human users and web-based, you also have little concern for the user's platform.

new interoperability completely frees up the programmer.

but this is not Microsoft-specific, nor Microsoft-created. it's just the progression of software development as enabled by the internet. like humans, who benefit much by being able to email more and more other people, software programs benefit much by being able to use more and more other software programs.

just as open-source software is a natural advancement in software development as enabled by the internet. it's pretty cool to think about where we might be in 5 or 10 years, but for these next years, Microsoft doesn't know where it all goes. the entire programming community is now free to decide.

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