Enough standards already? Hardly

Like many others, I blogged the comments recently made by Don Box and Bob Sutor – Microsoft and IBM – about the maturity of web services and XML and the standards used.

There is however a whole lot more to web services than Box’s Holy Trinity (SOAP, WSDL and UDDI). As I see it, web services can only be called mature when we have open standards for the complete technology stack, and we’re sadly far away from such completion, it seems.

Yesterday, CNET reported that W3C seeks standards accord on the upper layers of the technology stack, here specifically concerning Web Services Choreography.

And yesterday, Microsoft and IBM themselves put forward two new proposals for new standards, WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-Addressing. As CNET reports there is a lot of politics involved here.

Also new this week is the Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) standard, which OASIS announced.

So, where do we stand today? On a slippery surface, it seems to me. Not only are all the upper layers in the technology as mess, but I think we also have to be aware of the basic layers. Take SOAP, for example. How good is it actually? Doug Kaye points to the results of a benchmarking exercise about the performance of SOAP as compared to XML-RPC, CORBA, and communications via raw sockets. The benchmarks are made by Mike Olson and Uche Ogbuji and published in The Overhead of SOAP. It seems that we sacrifice performance to gain ease of programming. Is that what we want?

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