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Re: [ubl-dev] Technology heavy-weights consider the future of WS-*

  • From: "Fraser Goffin" <goffinf@g...>
  • To: "David RR Webber (XML)" <david@d...>, UBL-Dev <ubl-dev@l...>, "XML Developers List" <xml-dev@l...>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 11:46:02 +0100

Re: [ubl-dev] Technology heavy-weights consider the future of WS-*
the ebXML story is a good one and, IMO, doesn't need to use a 'rubbish the opposition' tactic to sell itself. I have long been a supporter of ebXML and *maybe* today it is gaining enough traction to make serious in-roads into enterprise computing - maybe.
I work for a very large financial services organisation in the UK. Many years ago, when we were first setting out on the 'business services' road ebXML was something we looked pretty hard at, and saw much merit (pre-ebMS 2). We 'hounded' IBM for many a month to support ebXML and, although there were promises to do so, ultimately they did not in any significant way (for very obvious (and I have to say justifiable) reasons mainly to do with the existing and expected pervasiveness - aka - how many people were asking for it - at that time - close to zero).
Later on (perhaps 3 years ago) IBM were contracted to design and build a  'web services' portal for my industry sector, supported and funded by all the major players, and I have to tell you they did NOT choose ebXML (although I personally lobbied for it) and DID choose some of the WS standards. This portal now forms part of the core enterprise infrastructure for all of the participants ( i.e. most of the big high street names in UK financial services).
If they are finally getting around to providing support for ebXML, great (not clear what the scope will be mind you). One might argue, not before time, although like most things in life, many things are to do with timing rather than technical elegance/superiority.
But of course, keep in mind that IBM ALREADY support most of the core aspects of the WS-* stack that you appear keen to deride, and this support is growing (upcoming releases of IBM integration products will INCREASE support for WS-*). It perhaps worth noting also that much of what ebXML specifies isn't very different from some of the WS specs, so in some regards is just a different way of doing the same thing (except that the WS specs have more mainstream tooling support).
It is perhaps this WS-* terminology that bothers me most. The article that you reference points to the fact that the motivation and perhaps some of the implementation of *some* of the WS standards *are* actually worthwhile (albeit in a somewhat begrudging tone).
It also talks about the folly (or sheer waste) of 'rip and replace' approaches (at least in the enterprise space) and makes much (rightly) of the desire (if not imperative) for organisations to continue to leverage their existing IT assets ( i.e. mainframe and 'pre SOA' operational systems). I concur.
In that spirit, I would suggest that for those who *have* chosen *carefully* from the set of WS standards that *do* provide value and *do* enjoy a level of consistent support in the technology set that they choose to use, will continue to use them in the same way that they will carry on using CICS/Cobol despite predictions of its imminent demise. This more recent software is no less part of the existing asset base than anything else.
So come on, before you fall into the same trap of retoric as the 'hype'sters' that you appear to want to blame for failure of WS, or whether you feel that REST is better, or ebXML, or whatever, I ask you to accept that there are many organisations, mine amongst them, that *do* find substantial utility and value in what some groups seem to want to polarise as 'the opposition'..
I don't have much time for the column inches dedicated to scare stories about particular vendors dominating various standards efforts. If my experience shows me anything, it is that they are all up to it but from a practical everyday delivery perspective it doesn't matter all that much. Technologies come and go as they always have and we adjust accordingly (agile anyone). Long term strategic initiatives are a massively hard sell these days, and perhaps rightly so. Most Project Managers I know have trouble looking beyond the immediate delivery and the set of problems that it addresses. Most architects are having a tough time getting funding for long term infrastructure spend, and many supposed pundits are already planning their meal tickets on the back of the next hype curve. The rest of us are just getting on with the job.

On 09/04/07, David RR Webber (XML) <david@d...> wrote:

I keep carping on this topic - but for once its not just me!

; -)

Some "quotable quotes"...

Enjoy, DW

"The way to be is to do" - Confucius (551-472 B.C.)

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