On not knowing whether to laugh, cry, shrug and walk away, or gaze in fascination….

Dion Hinchcliffe is embarking on a project which I think I’m going to watch with morbid fascination: Taking Stock of Web Service Description. Specifically, he’s going to put up a simple order entry web service, and publish a description of the service in a number of different candidate service description languages (SDLs). The mind-boggling part is the list of candidate SDLs:

“The list of SDLs to try to use is: WSDL 1.1, WSDL 2, NSDL, SSDL, WRDL, RSWS, WADL, Resedel, SMEX-D, RDF, RDF Forms, OWL/OWL-S, WSML, and WDL.”

That’s fourteen different languages. Plus he’s going to explore how to use these with three different programming languages: Java, C#, and Ruby.

Back in the Craig McMurtry blog entry that I cited recently, he wrote: “One must grant though, that a primary and very good idea behind Jini lives on in Indigo. That idea is that there should be an excellent, simple programming model usable across any kind of networking infrastructure. In the years since Jini, though, we have learned a lot about how NOT to design those programming models, and those lessons suffuse Indigo.” With all due respect, Dion’s experiment demonstrates pretty clearly that there is no consensus whatsoever on the “how not to” question. It also seems to confirm what I said: that one size will not fit all, and that we’re going to need a variety of technical solutions ranging from Jini to WRDL and beyond.

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