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Thursday, April 24, 2003

What's the Simplest (distributed) Thing That Could Possibly Work?

Don Box writes...

My only point of contention is Sam's statement that when you control both ends of the wire, SOAP isn't the right answer.

I'm not convinced... For one, even in a homogeneous system, managing interface evolution in a CORBA/DCOM-like system is much harder than in a XML/SOAP-based system.

This might be a good argument if the choices were restricted to SOAP, CORBA, and DCOM. But remember, all three of these systems were intended for multi-language and multi-owner distributed interfaces.

If you truly own both end-points then you can provide very simple and transparent mechanisms such as those in Gemstone Smalltalk. Or far simpler, the open source Erlang.

And Don continues...

More importantly, as the supporting infrastructure for SOAP gets hardened into the (distributed and local) computing fabric, there is a lot to be gained from leveraging it. Today, this advantage isn't so obvious. Going forward, I think it will be.

No doubt there will be a lot to be leveraged as enterprises invest millions of dollars into a SOAP/WS-xxx infrastructure.

The question though is this the most efficient investment? Why?

The Web Services hype (and it is not much more than that today for most corporations) appears to me to be a "taking" in the making. If I controlled the purse strings I would sit back as long as possible to watch this stuff shake out. Let someone else spend the $$$ for now and then read the blogs that tell me what went wrong.

If I had to forge ahead with something I would do the simplest thing that could possibly work. I would look for the Web Services equivalent of Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.