Hot Technologies: Web Services: Lets Talk!

IDC reported Web services to be a $21 bn market in 2007. Another
research agency, Radicati puts the combined market for Web services solutions,
management, integration and security to be worth $6.2 bn by 2008.

Closely related to this is the ongoing debate over open
standards and proprietary technologies that prominent best-of-breed suppliers
are trying to promote in order to be able to control a significant portion of
the pie.

Too Many Cooks
Sun Microsystems attempted to address the problem of Web services in 2001 by
launching the Sun Open Net Environment. It was a challenge for Microsofts
.Net. However, things got complicated when in 2003 Sun, Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC,
Oracle and Sonic Software published would-be standards for queuing incoming
messages. This was followed by Microsoft, IBM, TIBCO, and BEA Systems publishing
a specification called WS-ReliableMessaging. This is turn was followed by Oracle
and Sun coming out with WS-Composite Applications Framework without involving
Microsoft or IBM. All this led to a wide chasm between Java and Microsoft

services are not tied to any one operating system. Java can talk with
Perl, Windows can talk with UNIX…

Promises to Keep
Web services offer several advantages and aim to revolutionize the way services
over the Web are offered.

The Webopedia (
defines Web services platform a simple, interoperable, messaging framework. It
still misses many important features like security and routing. But, these
pieces will come together once SOAP becomes more advanced, according to the

The term Web services describes a standardized way of
integrating Web-based applications using the XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open
standards over an Internet protocol backbone. Used primarily as a means for
businesses to communicate with each other, and with clients, Web services allow
organizations to communicate data without intimate knowledge of each other’s IT
systems behind the firewall.

Moreover, as all communication is in XML, Web services are not
tied to any one operating system or programming language. For example, Java can
talk with Perl, Windows applications can talk with UNIX applications.
Interoperability is the single most important benefit that Web services are
designed to offer.

And, Miles to Go
In spite of all this talk about saving on programming time and costs, quick
deployments, ease-of-use, etc, security continues to be one of the key concerns
of those implementing Web services. However, with most vendors working towards
creating a security standard, the issue may not remain as one for long.

The other area of concern relates to the survival issues of some
of the small Web services companies? With the big boys taking significant
interest in this space, it is difficult to perceive how the lesser players will
pan out in this potentially huge opportunity. Large suppliers like Sun,
Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, BEA Systems and CA along with their technology and
business partners, will try and incorporate Web services features as part of
core their offerings.

Sudesh Prasad

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