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RE: Web services: Meet the new boss; same as the old boss ???

From: Ugo Corda <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 10:27:36 -0700
Message-ID: <EDDE2977F3D216428E903370E3EBDDC90812AE@MAIL01.stc.com>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com>, <www-ws-arch@w3.org>
>And then there is yet another level when you start looking at the payloads.  Three or four years ago we, and I think just about everybody, thought that things like invoices and price quotes -- that is, documents involved with common business functions -- would fairly quickly get standardized in XML.  Although there have been some (many) attempts along these lines, to my observation none has really gotten widespread traction.  Quite possibly this is because there has been no analogy in the business world to the IBM/Microsoft/BEA collaboration that has driven a lot of the technical standards.  The absence of such widely accepted document formats, however, is going to be a very considerable barrier, in my view, to implementation of the document-exchange style of Web services.

I agree with your analysis. Very little is usually being said about document transformations in the Web services world, even in cases like choreography and orchestration where it should be a central component.
 
If the document types expected by various Web services are syntactically different (even when the semantics are identical), then appropriate transformations have to be applied before each message reaches its destination. Currently the practical way of achieving that is via manual transformations (e.g. using XSL) which have to be written at design time. This, in my mind, undermines the whole promise of loosely coupling and dynamic engagement of different endpoints.
 
Various people have also been talking about using semantic information and ontologies to automate this translation process. I suspect this approach is not that robust yet, so I think that concerns about different document representations remain valid today.
 
Ugo
 
Received on Tuesday, 9 September 2003 13:27:37 GMT

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