Ray Lane; Are Web Services Really the Answer?

I caught this “blog” entry of Ray Lane’s via Google News today, and of course the title caught my eye. But I’ve been caught by titles before, and the article normally turns out to say, in effect, Yes, they are the answer.

So this was a nice surprise;

The software industry’s answer to all this is Web services. That’s the next big thing. It’s supposed to solve a lot of problems. When you talk to most of the large suppliers, they spill a bunch of acronyms and say all this will allow you to integrate. But it won’t; it just won’t.

So far so good. He goes on to talk about why he feels it won’t work …

There are standards, and certainly messaging and integration are easier, but we don’t know yet how to handle the semantic differences between industrial messages that are coming from suppliers to OEMs to whatever. XML, Sun ONE, Orion, Longhorn, on-demand computing, yada, yada, yada. There are a lot of solutions, a lot of hammers looking for the nail.

I disagree with the first sentence; what Web services are, does not make messaging and integration easier (though SOAP arguably does, a little – Web services as a whole make it significantly harder). The second part, I completely agree with though; we don’t know how to solve those problems. But we’re trying.

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