Web services report card

To some, Web services is a panacea for software developers, much like CASE, Enterprise Application Integration, SAA, CORBA and all the ''can't miss'' technology monikers that came before it. In truth, Web services technology, which looks to utilize existing technologies and standards to fix long-standing problems, is a work in progress. The potential is enormous, but there is still much work to be done.

As consultants Tony Baer and Ron Schmelzer point out in this month's cover story, The elements of Web services , many of the fundamental concepts of traditional IT practices like transaction services and security must be re-invented in a Web services world. And, of course, services that can be located anywhere on any network require new management techniques.

As we've discussed many times in these pages, the standards issue always looms as a potential obstacle in the path of widespread Web services implementation. The concept of Web services cannot work as its champions anticipate without the agreement of all major (and almost-major) high-tech players on technology and process standards -- such as agreement at the unprecedented levels of the World Wide Web, where a single small group created, approved and implemented standards that are now almost universally accepted.

In addition, Baer and Schmelzer note that despite much work, many important standards issues -- including who will be responsible for creating, overseeing and safeguarding the specifications -- remain mostly unresolved.

This story takes an objective look at the state of Web services at the close of 2002 and what needs to be done to ensure that the technology is still important at the end of next year.

Meanwhile, even as the flagging economy has forced many development and research labs to radically slow spending on new development technologies, one can still find pockets of work on some interesting emerging systems.

Jack Vaughan, ADT 's editor-at-large, took some time at the close of this year to look at the status of promising new technologies emerging from the labs of industry giants like IBM as well as from under-funded start-ups looking to create the ''next big thing.'' In his story, '5 Technologies to watch,' Vaughan reports on his talks with some of the builders and early adopters of technologies like Grid computing, a new class of graphical user interfaces and the Model Driven Architecture.

As Vaughan notes, these technologies all represent extensions to previous efforts to find better ways to run a business. But like database technology, packaged applications, object technology and the Internet in past years, development managers ignore them at their own peril.

Best regards,
Michael W. Bucken

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.


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