Is anyone actually using web services to provide business value to a company today or are web services just a bunch of hype and "cool" technology to fool around with? Which companies are using web services?
build it and they will come. lets create a new market, call it web servies. lets start publishing books and magazines on web services and make them seem better than sliced bread. have managers read about web services and instruct their developers to use them in their next project. lets have headhunters ask for web servies in their job postings (must have 5+ years using SOAP). vendors crank out the tools to make building web services easier (they want to be known as the market leader in web services tools). crank out classes to teach developers how to use your tools for developing web services. develop certification exams so developers can become certified for your tool. completely change the tool in the next release and say it is easier than ever and supports the new standards. crank out new classes and certifications.
I don't know about Web Services but you've got one thing right: This industry runs on hype.
One thing that continues to baffle me is the number of persistance mechanisms out there designed to replace JDBC and/or relational databases.
"Try the new XXX datamapping tool. So you can spend your time at the beach instead of writing code"!
I have had several conversations with co-workers about Web Services over the last few months. In most cases I come back to quoting the definition of a Web Service from the O'Reilly book,
"A Web Service is a piece of business logic, located somehwere on the internet, that is accesible through standard-based Internet protocols such as HTTP or SMTP".
The co-worker then usually says "Well that means we have been writing web services for years". I smile and walk on.
As for SOAP, ebXML, UDDI and WSDL specs I have written a few SOAP APIs implementations dating back a couple of years but have not done any commercial WSDL, ebXML or UDDI.
I do believe a lot of the current stuff is hype and an attempt by Microsoft and IBM to gain commericial advantage in the B2B area.
Web Services as it is in its initial stage will not come out with its advantages and industry wide application. But the concept is good and provides with a standardized way of data transfer which is XML. Also inter application communication like B2B application can leverage the Web Service concept. But will have to wait and see how Web Service shape up.
It's very simplistic right now, but Amazon.com has opened up an XML-based web service to its associates. You can build a web storefront, have your system query Amazon's products database, and get back XML containing product information (list_price, our_price, URLs to images, etc). Amazon asks that associates poll their service hourly to check for price changes. Although it is a bit simplistic and rough around the edges, it is incredibly useful. Amazon associates now can mostly automate what used to be a time-consuming, manual process. This is one real-world instance where a web service is providing outstanding value.
As another approach to EAI companies (particularly those that have impressed messaging products such as MQSeries) are beginning to look at this. Its very early days, though. Have a look at http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6403
for a bit of background.
Why does Amazon need to have a Web-Service to do this ?
We have been doing exactly the same thing for years by sending a standard HTTP request to a server and getting back XML content in the response.
The key selling point for web-services is to provide a common interface to legacy systems so that new applications can be built by plugging together pre-existing business process.
IMHO there are at present some fundamental flaws in this pitch mainly based around the concerns of security and transactions. Very few of these legacy systems support the concept of a two-phase commit so the idea of stringing multiple operations on different legacy systems together does not pass the ACID test since you have no guarantee that you can roll back the transaction should any part of it fail.
The other selling point of Web-Services is the able to locate available Web-Services using discovery however I cannot see many businesses wanting to create applications with unknown partners.
IMHO Web-Services is yet another band wagon dreamed up by marketing depts that describes something that we have all been doing for years. The Vendor companies need to be able to market something now that the Application Server market has become a commodity market-place with clear brand leaders and the alternative of open-source platforms.
Just my 2 cents for what it's worth
This is true that MS and IBM are creating lot of hype around web-services. I have very interesting article which compares web-services vs CORBA. I have forgotten the link but have soft copy. Let me know if any one wants to read.
my email is ashwanikalra at hrc dot alumni dot net.
There is interesting artcle on comp.object.corba newsgroup also. Search by keyword "Soap". Has around 53 articles in this thread
Information Technology was a virgin field where briliant mind had to work out new solution...but that was a lot time ago. Now God Money has come to play...IT now has to be profitable first and usefull after. What I am trying to say is no matter how good is that product no matter how useful it could be for the comunity the only matter is how much money the can make with it.
I know I might sound a bit picturesque but I could mention plenty example (wap is one for all) where a big marketing operation tried to push a product with no care for anything but their profit, ok it turn to be a fiasco but how many company start (and die) in with it?
My conclusion is, Web Service is a bull and I bet it will not last.
I think Information technology has become a real industry. As a real industry, it doesn't follow the market, but creates it. This means you should always have something new, it doesn't matter what. Currently this new toy is WebServices. Then there will be something else. Nowbody cares if it's gonna fly. It just should be new. It's not hype, it's The Industry :)
Very good point.
...well I think it point of view matter. I do agree that IT crates a new market but I do also believe that money rules it. So it is a kind of deadlock.
Someone have a good(or bad) idea, there is always someone who say "ok, let make it profitable" most of the time the meaning of that idea goes in background.
Anyway I stop with that, it is the same story.
I like the notion of Web Services but the idea was probably born out of frustration with firewalls security issues. The inability/unwillingness to configure and deploy bi-directional distributed protocols such as RMI, CORBA keeps us swinging from vines .... now we just have vines with hand grips.