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Re: potential users of web services

From: Sanjiva Weerawarana <sanjiva@watson.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 13:24:21 -0400
Message-ID: <000101c1e01b$826572f0$c2391e09@watson.ibm.com>
To: "Andrew Layman" <andrewl@microsoft.com>, <www-ws@w3.org>
Hi Andrew,

> A Web service is a computational service, accessible via messages of
> definite, programming-language-neutral and platform-neutral format, and
> which has no special presumption that the results of the computation are
> used primarily for display by a user-agent.

I like everything about this, except for the requirement that the 
service be accessible via messages of "definite, programming-language-
neutral and platform-neutral format".

IMO the degree to which the messages have to be programming language
and platform neutral is a function of the target customer community of
the service. So for example, if I'm writing a publicly accessible
Web service, talking SOAP over HTTP is the right thing to do today.
However, if I'm offering the same service inside my organization,
maybe I could offer it using SOAP over MSMQ because maybe my customers
all speak over MSMQ. I continued to use SOAP because the target customer
base includes folks from different languages and platforms. Going a
step further, I can offer the same service to a workgroup say by
speaking a binary protocol over TCP (like DCOM, for example :-))
because my target customer base are all DCOM-speakers.

So to me, the degree of language and platform neutrality is strictly
tied to who I'm trying to provide the service to. If you go to a local
store in Sri Lanka they'll probably just speak Sinhalese or Tamil.
If they expect tourists to come too almost guaranteed they will speak
English too. If they expect tourists from many countries, they will
often speak English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, etc.. How
do you know what they speak (i.e., what message formats they can
transact in)? You need to find the meta-data for the service offered
by the store (in a book maybe in WSDL!) and see what are the ways 
(bindings) in which they offer the service. If you find an acceptable
binding then you can do business with them; otherwise you keep 
driving to the next store.

Mandating that one HAS to support a SPECIFIC selection for 
a platform/language neutral message format and transport to be
a bona fide Web service is akin to saying that to be a store in
Sri Lanka you have to speak English and have to support people
coming in big tourist buses.

Bye,

Sanjiva.
Received on Tuesday, 9 April 2002 19:11:45 GMT

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