Monthly Archives: October 2002

Web services aren’t about exposing objects

It’s good to see Edwin agreeing with Steve Vinoski about how distributed systems are not as simple as just exposing object APIs through SOAP.

I especially like this bit; “We should think of it as email for business applications”. Yes! But email is fairly limited; we can do better than just “add this message to that mailbox”. What if we extended email with the ability to retrieve messages, replace existing messages, plus other operations on messages and mailboxes? If you squint a little, that’s what the Web is.

Predicting the Death of Web services

I should probably have done this long ago for the record, but there’s no better time than the present. This was prompted by a couple of comments I’ve seen recently saying “Web services are here to stay!”. Bzzt!

Web services will be considered an utter failure by the industry by the end of 2004.

The end game will be interesting to watch, that’s for sure. Some companies will emerge as the real thought leaders, and others will likely be left insisting that Web services are the right way to do things. Then again, it’s possible that Microsoft and IBM spin doctors may just absorb REST; “We’ve been saying that all along!”. Either way, none of the specs associated with Web services will be in use on the Internet by then, except perhaps SOAP, DIME, and WS-Routing. But I’d have to bet against those too, unfortunately, because they’re going to get caught up in the backlash.

SOA What?

I’ve seen the phrase “Service Oriented Architecture” (SOA) thrown about by so many people recently, and every time I see it, I cringe. As near as I can tell, it’s being used by Web services folks to mean simply “a service available over the Internet”, which AFAIK includes email, FTP, the Web, IRC. Really, what distributed system is not about services?

If marketing buzzwords are going to make it into technical discussion, please make sure they’re not no-ops.