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   Re: [xml-dev] Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You

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At 01:23 AM 9/15/2002 +0100, Alaric Snell wrote:

>"Remember that the architecture people are solving problems that they think
>they can solve, not problems which are useful to solve.

Joel is right when he warns of the dangers of overgeneralization in 
architecture, but this article is full of overgeneralizations in prose, 
including the above sentence.

Does he really believe that all "architecture people" are harmful, or is he 
disagreeing with some specific architectures? Does he really think that a 
software architect sits at his desk and says, "here's a useless problem 
that I know how to solve, let's have at it!" Is he saying that Microsoft is 
not interested in knowing whether they can sell the products and 
architectures they develop by pointing to problems people think are 
important to solve?

Joel asks us to adopt the following test:

         Tell me something new that I can do that I couldn't do
         before, O Astronauts, or stay up there in space and
         don't waste any more of my time.

But sometimes it is important to do something more simply, or to do it in a 
way that makes it easier for heterogeneous programs to work together. We 
all know that a program designed for end users may succeed because it has a 
nicer GUI, even if it has less functionality than a complex rival. In the 
same way, a software architecture may succeed because it fits more smoothly 
into the way people develop software, even if it does nothing that is 
completely new.

>Soap + WSDL may be
>the Hot New Thing, but it doesn't really let you do anything you couldn't do
>before using other technologies -- if you had a reason to. All that
>Distributed Services Nirvana the architecture astronauts are blathering about
>was promised to us in the past, if we used DCOM, or JavaBeans, or OSF DCE, or

XML does nothing that SGML did not, but XML has caught on in a way that 
SGML did not. I do think that XML is significant.

Like all new technologies, web services is still on trial, but I do think 
that it is important to be able to exchange requests and data without being 
tied to one language, one operating system, or heavyweight and expensive 
specialized software systems. If you want all three of these virtues, I do 
think that Soap + WSDL can do something that the other technologies he 
lists did not.



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