Daily Archives: October 23, 2006

Web of Services for the Enterprise

I am very pleased that the “Web of Services” workshop has been announced.
This workshop is open to W3C members and non-members. This workshop represents the next step in a somewhat lengthy discussion about the importance of Web services to enterprise software.
I am really looking forward to pinning down what, if anything, is wrong with Web services, and what, if anything, the W3C should do about it. Especially in the context of using Web services for SOA implementation.
Following the original submission of SOAP the W3C was the place for Web services specifications. This was the case until WS-Security was submitted to OASIS in September 2002. Since then Web services specifications work has been split among W3C, OASIS, WS-I, and the Microsoft workshop process.
One thing the industry lacks is a single point of leadership. Perhaps W3C should try to take that on? Or maybe OASIS would be a better place?
Another thing we tried for a couple of years was to create a Web services architecture. But we didn’t ever fully reach our goal. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good information in that document (and I know that the OASIS SOA RM used it), but it falls a little short of defining exactly what a Web services architecture is and how to tell whether or not a specification fits within it.
Other people often say that the REST approach is better than WS-* (usually described as “SOAP vs REST”) and this has pretty much been an endless argument in the blogosphere since it started (and was an endless argument at the WS-Arch WG as well). Maybe the workshop results can help resolve this, although that may be like suggesting the merger of two large established religions 😉 Anyway…
Does the Semantic Web have a role to play in the enterprise? Many would say “yes,” but this is another somewhat lengthy debate without much resolution. Maybe through the workshop we can identify enterprise software requirements and use cases that will settle this one, too…
The most important thing is to hear loudly and clearly from the users about their requirements for enterprise software standardization, especially for SOA based applications, and what needs to be done to truly achieve it.