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Web Services - Great everywhere but the web.

By Andrew Pollack on 07/02/2007 at 10:55 PM EDT

At what point will we finally put an end the entire load of cap that spun out of the late 1990's and into the software we're stuck using every day. If ever there was an over-engineered, under usable specification, it was SOAP -- the stuff that makes what we call "Web Services" happen.

SOAP is an XML based specification that allows the exchange of complex data types between systems connected only in the most loose manner over the internet. A great testament to the senior programmers at IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, and others is that they've actually managed over the course of years, to make this specification work for a great many things. In fact, Creating a Web Service in Domino 7.x and using it as the basis for front end programming in Visual Studio.NET 2005 is proving to be downright elegant. Of course, in order for it to work you must never ever look at the secret code called "WSDL" which was meant to be "self describing" but turns out to be the sort of self describing you can only do if you've drunk a bottle of Tequila and smoked a lot of what my 11th grade history teacher used to refer to as 'left handed cigarettes'.

Here's the big joke. If you go to a bit of trouble, you can make a "web service" based set of interfaces to the data objects (think of a user record, or an invoice). Now you've got all these great ways to interface with your data. How many of these Web Services can your browser "just talk to"? None. That's right, none.

There are add-ons, programs you can buy, or you can adopt an entire platform (like Microsoft's .NET on IIS) -- but you can't just use them.

More crap., more crap., more crap.

It all works (or doesn't work) that way. Now you know why all this "cool technology" still sucks 20 years later.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Web Services - Great everywhere but the web. By Dwight Wilbanks on 07/03/2007 at 11:49 AM EDT
Amen.

I was a late adopter on web services, I saw presentation after presentation
from IBM and other true blue's about how wonderful they were and the simple
hundred or so steps required to consume & expose them. Its simple, first
upgrade your JRE......

Until, finally, I was able to see the raw web transactions.

After you remove all the various levels of simplification (I say complication),
you need to be able to send a web request and format it like "X",the service
will respond back in format "Y". I had been doing transfers of data and raw
http communications for quite some time, and nothing described in the early
days promised to make the job easier.

It is my opinion that anything described by www.w3.org should not have "simple"
in its name.


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