What’s a “good thing”

It seems that not everyone agrees that the submission of specifications to W3C is a “good thing”. Please let me clarify what I mean by “good thing”. Do I agree with the resource-oriented nature of WS-Transfer as the underlying layer for service-oriented solutions? As older readers of this blog will already know, the answer is a big “no”. I don’t believe in the coupling of resource identity and address (per the common practice on the Web) and I don’t like the ‘resource as an addressable receiver of messages’ model of WS-Transfer and WS-RF. I am not suggesting that there is no room for resource-oriented solutions. Not at all… I’ve even architected such a solution (very web-like but without the identity-address coupling) for a Microsoft internal project-investigation (yes, I have been working here:-). You just use the best approach for each problem.

So, why is it a good thing that WS-Transfer has been submitted to W3C?

  1. Some people want to build resource-oriented applications using Web Services technologies (e.g. the systems management folks).
  2. The specification was out there but not in a standards organisation.
  3. There was another, more complicated specification (i.e. WS-RF) dealing with a similar problem. It’s not good for the WS community to have competing specifications. There is no interoperability.

The fact that the specification is in a standards organisation is a good thing. No, I have not taken the blue pill. In fact, I think people here in Microsoft are experiencing my strong views about architecture and systems design. But I have seen the way some Microsoft folks deal with any architecture-related arguments and I must admit I like their pragmatic approach. No matter what our purist architectural beliefs may be, customers should have the tools and protocols they need without having to deal with competing and non-interoperable solutions. They should be supported no matter what approach they want to follow. This also applies to the POX vs WS argument. Just keep an eye for the work my pal Steve Maine is going to be presenting at MIX 06. Very cool stuff. So, yes… the submission is a good thing and it also enables progress on other fronts (e.g. systems management and the Grid) as I will discuss in another post.

Have I changed my mind about how we should be building scalable, distributed, service-oriented applications? Absolutely not!

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