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RE: Some Thoughts about Goals

From: Vinoski, Stephen <steve.vinoski@iona.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 18:44:41 -0500
Message-ID: <4F4A31A61D72604FAF84C29C8EA28481093971@amereast-ems1.IONAGLOBAL.COM>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com>
Cc: <www-ws-arch@w3.org>
EDI is indeed important to Web Services, though in an indirect fashion.
EDI standardization started in 1979 (believe it or not), and one of its
most important contributions from a Web Services perspective is its
standardization of "orchestrations" or "choreographies," i.e., the
business processes that trading partners follow in order to do business
with one another. These orchestrations are extremely important to Web
Services because without them, you are stuck with only useless little
RPC-oriented web services such as stock quoters.
Modern-day standards bodies such as ebXML and RosettaNet are carrying on
from the EDI tradition. They're applying the good things about EDI to
the modern world of XML and the Internet. They are developing the
orchestrations and ontologies required to allow applications to interact
properly within business processes. (Some here might say that the
Semantic Web is going to solve all this, but I personally don't believe
it will because IMO it's trying to do too much. The way that EDI has
proven that application-to-application integration across trading
partners is pragmatic is by limiting its scope (severely limiting, when
you think about it) to common business functions. There are also related
developments, such as Microsoft's XLANG and IBM's Web Services Flow
Language (WSFL), in the Web Services space, though these apply at
perhaps a slightly different level.)
I strongly recommend that every member of the WSAWG read the following
seminal Web Services article:
IMO this article explains some very fundamental issues that we all need
to keep in mind as we work to develop a Web Services architecture. (I
have written similar ideas in my articles on my home page at
http://www.iona.com/hyplan/vinoski/, if you're interested, but I think
the above article sums it all up better than I do.)

-----Original Message-----
From: Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) [mailto:RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 12:00 PM
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Subject: Some Thoughts about Goals

I'd like to talk about goals for a minute from a slightly different
perspective.  Please forgive me if I dwell on the painfully obvious or
ramble a bit.  My objective here is not to substitute different goals
for the ones being discussed, but perhaps to find out if there is
something missing from them.

It seems that there is a slight level of discomfort in the group because
we do not have a clear definition of what a "web service" is.  I am
personally quite willing to discover this during the process, but I do
admit that there is a certain odd aspect to the situation.  On the other
hand, the discomfort level really does seem to be quite low.  Why is
this?  Well, I think that most people sort of feel, "I'm not sure I can
define it, but I know it when I see it".  Now why would this be?  Well,
it seems to me that most people have the feeling that web services
should end up with at least some reasonable subset of the functions of
systems that they already know about -- like CORBA and Grid.  So why not
just use these systems that are already there?  Probably because we want
to have a standards-based solution on the web that is used by a wider
cross-section of end users and/or is less costly than current solutions.
So one goal -- and this one is certainly painfully obvious but perhaps
worth stating anyway -- is that the architecture be accepted by as many
as the stakeholders as possible.  We want .Net-ers and Java-ers,
creators of open source and proprietary masterpieces, all to say, "Yup,
I can work in that framework".

So, are all the stakeholders at the table? 

I am a little concerned that I am getting the impression that systems
like CORBA and Grid are being used as models for goals but perhaps not
EDI???  I don't know the people in this group very well -- are there any
EDI people here?  I myself am hardly an EDI expert but I have access to
them.  I could imagine that EDI might be under-represented because at
least some of these folks seem to want to close their eyes until XML
goes away.  I have heard, in this community, the phrase "flavor of the
month" used with the implication that if you just wait a bit there will
be some other enthusiasm that will replace XML solutions.  I think we
understand that this is a bad call, and I think the EDI people are
beginning to realize that too, but at least among those I know there is
still not a lot of active participation.

Now I personally think that the EDI model is very important.  One of the
things that we want web services to do -- a "goal" perhaps in a
different sense -- is to be capable of handling business transactions
EDI is a mature, functioning system that does just that.  Web services
should support at least some subset of EDI functions.

As I said, I'm not an EDI expert, but let me guess some of the things
that are important in EDI that web services should probably also

*	Reliable messaging. 

*	Audit trails 

*	The usual security suspects - e.g. authorization,
nonrepudiation, secure transmission, etc 

*	Ability to transmit large volumes of data efficiently (?) 

*	Work flow definition 

*	Contingency processing (or something like that) 

*	???  Probably a bunch of important stuff I don't know about at
the moment ???? 

Soooo -- I guess I'm asking you folks:  Do you agree with these
concerns?  If so, do the goals as presently articulated address them?
Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2002 20:40:40 UTC

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