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   RE: [xml-dev] The Battle for Web Services

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By the time an RFP is issued, the guessing had better 
be done and the bets made.

I worded the question deliberately to see how different 
people would approach the problem.  I said, "an 
enterprise of a **type**".

1.  One might assume that the 'type' determines services 
that this enterprise offers beyond the common business 
sets, say spec'd by something like ebXML.  One would 
want to understand that type very well and stay away 
from types one doesn't understand (start ups have a 
definite chicken and egg problem although the fact 
that many XML committees are staffed by smaller firms 
or industry outsiders gives them an opportunity if 
a thin one).

2.  Given an RFP, as I said, the first thing I would 
do is look around for any specification citations and 
hardware or software required or optioned.  That scopes 
the technology options.

3.  If this is an RFP (Request for Proposal) and not 
an RFI (Request for Information), I would assume the 
consultancy period is over.  I don't get to argue the 
customer out of things, but I can say no or suggest 
alternatives.  RFPs are typically coded for such 
responses.  Important:  the more I argue with the 
customer about what is good for the web, whether or 
not a vendor of a particular system is evil, or anything 
other than answering the specific requirements, the more 
likely I am to lose.  Keep technical politics out of 
Proposals and on Blogs where they belong.  If I 
try to argue REST vs SOAP, I won't make the downselect.
One has to either be prepared to say 'no bid', or 
implement one or either.  One may get a bid that 
says 'service-oriented architecture is desirable' 
and that is all.
Now one has to make a bet because dollars to donuts, 
the customer doesn't know what that is, and possibly, 
one's opinion of what that is varies from one's competitor's 
and perhaps one's core technology vendor's.  I am willing 
to bet a beer that if we ask on this and a few other 
lists 'what is a service oriented architecture' we 
would get some surprisingly variable answers that 
make different cases for the values of different 
technologies for loose coupling, HTTP vs Everything Else, 
identity authentication, orchestration vs choreography,
transaction recovery, and so on.  

How many would actually take the time to compose a 
service set standard for the enterprise type?

The answer Chris gives describes the technologies he
would implement.  Unless that conflicts with what 
is found in item 2, he is ok but just starting. 
Now one has to determine which of the functions 
this enterprise type performs are suitable for 
web services, and which aren't.  What are the 

As one can see from item three, the battle of 
the web services is not fought by the vendors of 
the core technologies.  They are just the arms 
dealers and map makers.  It is fought in the middle 
tier vendors who are often selling to small to 
middle sized businesses for whom ROI has to be 
fairly immediate and where for the implementor, 
the profit margins for the jobs are thin and 
costs are fixed once bid.

Probable result:  commitment to a core tech vendor 
production system for creating service sets for 
enterprises of a given type.  Otherwise, one won't 
be able to compete against IBM.  Didier says one 
shouldn't be dependent on a particular vendor, but 
for jobs of this size, one will want to be.  The 
job is not done by a single developer but teams.
Managing multiple developers each of whom 
has a different technical religion will result 
in failure to meet schedule, budget, and requirements. 
Particularly in the battle for web services, one 
will want to provide as turnkey a solution as 
possible or else the implementation costs will 
consume all of the profit.  No free lunch.

BTW:  the battle is not over the content 
type standards.  These have to be free and reliably 
implemented by the time the RFP is issued.  It 
is **precisely** over capturing the business logic.

Why did Bill Gates suddenly embrace open standards 
and open source?  Because in a services-oriented 
architecture for a typed business, the implementation 
technology should not make any difference to the 
services the system can perform.  If it does, the 
technologies are NOT standard and the customer is 
right back to buying from the vendor with the most 
complete system.  No change.  In other words, web 
services are NOT a killer app, and do not puncture 
the equilibrium.  They open up communications and 
enable enterprises to interoperate.  That's all. 
The value is still in the business logic and it 
is even more locked behind the firewall than ever 



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