Re: Web Services/SOA (was RE: XML 2004 weblog items?
On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 13:57:24 -0600, Bullard, Claude L (Len) <len.bullard@i...> wrote: > > Every few years, we toss out the old terms and attempt > to reapply the technologies that didn't quite make it > in the last cycle. That's The Way It's Supposed To Be, I think. Code gets refactored -- toss out the stuff that really didn't work, try the technologies that didn't quite make it again after a couple of iterations of Moore's Law. Political ideas get co-opted (Barry Goldwater's speeches weren't much different than Kerry's flag-waving one when he accepted the nomination, Lyndon Johnson sounds like a Bush Republican in retrospect). You HAVE to change the names or people will expect backwards compatibility -- bad ideas have to die, and sometimes good names are part of the collateral damage. Peter Hunsberger wrote: > Sure, some hand waving as they invoke the magic term "SOA" > and next thing you know your boss expects transparent data > exchange with 500 new business partners to be up and running in a month... There's no dispute that the the hype surrounding web services / SOA has done a disservice. I think it's just part of our collective job description to learn to separate out the hype from the reality and to try to persuade those around us of what the reality is. It takes awhile to get enough credibility to tell the Pointy-Haired Boss that the hypemeisters are full of it and NOBODY is getting real-world transparent data exchange with SOA, WS-* ... or REST and the Semantic Web for that matter. Data exchange requires hard work, and at best technology automates the grunt work, e.g. as XML removes the necessity of defining YACC grammars and writing parsers for every random data format need. Maybe semantic technologies will automate the process of building or configuring transformers between diverse data formats, but they will create a new type of grunt work - building ontologies that define the mappings that automated transformation engines can exploit. What's important is to keep an eye on the central ideas that have persisted across Structured Programming, Object Orientation, Distributed Objects, and now Service Orientation. Loose coupling and data hiding are certainly two of these central ideas. Some ideas sound good but don't work out, e.g. "location transparency" in the distributed object world. Some ideas that seem trivial have the immense advantage of being massively scalable (e.g. HTTP), and some ideas that probably will never scale could turn out to be just the ticket for limited domains (e.g. the semantic web). The thing we can do is to exploit the ideas that actually work, irrespective of whether they are fashionable or not; and to ignore those that don't work, irrespective of whether they are tangled up in standards or products with others that do work.
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