The wait is finally over. After only three short months, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released their report from the Web of Services for Enterprise Computing Workshop.
Like in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic The Lord of The Rings, when the different races gathered in Rivendell to discuss the future of Middle Earth, so too did representatives from across the information technology landscape gather in Bedford, Massachusetts in late February of this year to decide the future of the so-called "Web of Services." Unlike the novel, however, a small group of heroes did not emerge from the gathering with a clearly defined goal or a quest laid out before them.
What the industry received instead were the following recommendations:
* Ensure the stability of the Core platform of Web Services by maintaining its Web Services specifications through a Web Services Core Working Group
* Facilitate the common accessibility of resources by both Web and Web Service mechanisms
* Help users/vertical industries to specify needs, use cases, best practices guidelines, and architectural patterns for SOA The gist of the meeting was to discover why the "Web of Services" (Web Services) has not achieved the same level of success that the "Web of Documents" (HTML, HTTP, URI) has and, learning that, to work out how to bring Web Services more in line with the traditional Web.
While many developers will admit to being curious about why Web Services have not exploded like the traditional Web, they are more focused on building standards-compliant solutions and less than enthused about the formation of yet another working group.
Ask any software developer and he or she will tell you that architectural and coding standards, while constraining to a developer's creative side, provide much needed cleanliness and consistency to what can be an extremely complicated software application. In other words, standards are a good thing. However, standards are only useful when they are applied early on and maintained consistently throughout the software development life cycle.
Software developers and vendors simply cannot wait around for months and months while the W3C decides on a standard. Instead, solutions are implemented and products are built on hunches and best guesses with the understanding that they will be retrofitted when the standard becomes available.
By taking so much time and producing so few tangible results, the W3C risks making itself irrelevant.
But don't take our word for it. Check out the workshop report (all seventeen printed pages of it) and decide for yourself.