Tim drew my attention to the Web of Services for Enterprise Computing Workshop Report that was recently published by the W3C. As he put it, “I thought the pungent smells of failure on one side and optimism on the other mixed oddly, but still worth reading.”
Setting the scene:
The discussion at the workshop tended to revolve around two main streams of thought, which are not as well coordinated as they could or should be. One is that existing Web technologies can be adapted for enterprise use. In this stream of discussion it was proposed that additional standardization is not required, but this view did not garner widespread support.
While post-Web businesses such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Google, and others have successfully adapted Web technologies for enterprise usage patterns, they appear to have done so using a lot of custom code and minimal off the shelf software or standards-based approaches to integration.
To which I guess the obvious replies are, “Yes”, “They would say that, wouldn’t they” and “Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this.” And reading the following passage is like getting a rheumatic twinge in an old sports injury:
At the Web Services workshop in 2001, the approach of having a stack of solutions was appealing and we decided to spin up lots of groups to build these specifications. We were to build a foundation of protocols that work within the context of the Web, with the goal of making lots of things talk to lots of other things. In addition, we wanted to create a system to support dynamic composability to meet problems as these arose and to build the corresponding tooling to make all this happen. After six years, we are half way through the spec stack, and interoperability has remained elusive.