Daily Archives: 2004/11/22

Web services semantics

Tim Ewald’s asking all the right questions;

If all of this makes your head spinning, it should, because there is a lack of consistency here. If I’m designing a Web service, where do semantics exist? Are they in the message body, where they started? Are they in one or both of the action URIs? If they aren’t in SOAPAction because we don’t want to count on a header, should they be in wsa:Action, which is also a header? Can portType/operation define semantics (as the default values of various action headers suggest) or not?

Sounds eerily similar to some previous comments of mine.

I’ve used (and studied) many distributed computing platforms, and I’ve never seen anything quite so thoroughly fouled up as Web services has fouled up the the essence of the contract. It tried to be everything to everybody, and in the end is nothing to anybody. Constrain or die.

The new gig

For those of you not at XML 2004 last week, my new client is Justsystem, a mid sized (800 employee) consumer and enterprise software company based in Japan with a long history of successful product development. I’m working there part time, for at least the next several months, assisting them in making a new Web based compound document technology of theirs – xfy (pronounced “ecks-fi”) – a success. At the conference we announced the immediate availability of a technology preview (downloadable at that link), and the planned productization of the technology by mid 2005.

Since I first started exploring CORBA and OpenDoc integration back in 1995 or so, the vision of compound documents as both a general user interface model, as well as a largely universal data extensibility solution, has never strayed too far from my thoughts, nor my work. So when I was approached by the company in September, and introduced to xfy, the decision to help them was a total no-brainer. They totally get it.