At Microsoft PDC: Microsoft chief Gates still bullish on Web services

When he was not boasting about the next-generation Longhorn operating system in his keynote address at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles this week, Bill Gates was pointing out other breakthroughs from the Redmond, Wash. software giant and others in the industry.

“What are the breakthroughs?” he asked rhetorically. “Well, first and foremost we have the advanced Web services.”

Part of that breakthrough came in the last month, he said, when IBM and Microsoft demonstrated IBM WebSphere connecting up with Microsoft Windows .NET with “deep security, transaction capabilities and reliable messaging.”

Gates said Microsoft is currently soliciting comments on its latest Web services technology, which will be turned over to a standards body by the end of 2004.

Microsoft’s chief software architect sees more practical applications of XML Web services coming. With Web services capabilities built into its .NET platform, it will enable improved communications and data exchange in workflow applications for both programmers and business users, Gates told his PDC audience.

Distributive management is another area where he sees Web services making a difference. Outlining the current problem Gates said: “Management software historically has been a whole other set of concepts. It gets layered on top. It has its own way of doing data storage, inspections, self-description. You have to read both manuals, and it’s just a world apart.”

Making connections was one of the themes of Gates’ speech and this is where Web services end the problem of management software being “a world apart.”

“With Web services we’re not going to do that,” he said. “We’re going to use the mainstream architecture to build in a level of management capabilities that goes beyond what traditional management systems did -- including things like policies on how quickly you expect something to execute; including policies on how you deal with certain error conditions, and so that as much automatic activity can take place as possible; understanding what kind of failure might take place, and being able to model those so that it’s not just thousands of error messages when, say, the network connection goes down.”

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.