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RE: [xml-dev] More predictions to mull over

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Elliotte Harold [mailto:elharo@metalab.unc.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:43 AM
> To: Michael Champion
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] More predictions to mull over

> I read pieces like Eric's (and I've read a lot of them) and I just don't
> see a real problem there. Maybe it's too abstract for me. Tell me about
> getting the accounting system to talk to the database and the web
> server. Now that's a problem I can sink my teeth into. It's also one I
> can solve without resorting to big complicated WS-* specs.

Maybe you don't see the problem because you are happy writing custom integrations, one system at a time. Eric is talking about standardizing that process so that his customers don't have to figure out how to map each application's data and protocols laboriously onto XML+HTTP, reinventing 90% every time. They want to put that common 90% into the infrastructure and just build on top of it.  

For example, what if the RSS ecosystem didn't exist, but people wanted to track changes to a number of websites in a client or server side aggregator.  One could happily sink one's teeth into the problem of scraping the HTML of each site of interest, transforming the common information into a common XML format or database schema, and sorting/filtering/displaying it on demand.  Then RSS came along and shoved all that down into the infrastructure. Probably people on this list did a lot of those custom aggregators a few years ago, and may have thought RSS was lame and doomed because it was so ugly and fragmented.  But we all got another reminder that Worse Is Better, and somehow or other everyone starting syndicating their sites in some flavor of quasi-XML RSS,  and there are hundreds of free ways to consume all that stuff. Dave Winer is a millionaire media guru while people who know how to design proper XML formats still have to work for a living :-)  

Obviously "enterprise standardization" is an order of magnitude or two harder than news / blog standardization and I won't claim that WS-* has won.  But it is addressing a very real problem - application integration can be done with lots of hand-rolled XML and clever uses of HTTP, but it's expensive, fragile, and the result for non-trivial applications is usually just as complex as the ugliest WS-* stack diagram imaginable.  People want ugly messes shoved into the infrastructure, and sooner or later a solution, probably a Worse is Better solution, will make this happen.  WS-* may or may not be it, I don't know or particularly care at the moment.

What's the real evidence that WS-* has gone off the rails, *if* we assume that the objective is to shove the common 90% of integration development down into the infrastructure and that the beauty of the technology is not a criterion of success?

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