Getting started with Web services
- By Jack Vaughan
[February 4, 2003 - ADT's Programmers Report] - Much has been made of Web services -- lightweight, Web-borne applications
surrounded by XML snippets that describe what's inside. But they are not
altogether new, at least when it comes to implementation issues. First adopters
of Web services in the field describe some of the same issues developers know
from the days of software components, libraries and classes. That is: Web
services can be hard to find. Like components, you can't use what you don't know
you have, and although a fellow team member or corporate partner has created
some piece of functionality, that does not mean you can find it and tap into it
in time to meet your project deadline.
Among the software vendors working to address this problem is LogicLibrary,
which recently initiated a QuickStart program to push forward Web services
initiatives. The company's credentials for such a task are considerable -- among
the founders are individuals who spearheaded IBM's 1992 efforts to forge a San
Francisco component framework and then move that framework to the EJB model
LogicLibrary's flagship product, Logidex, is a software development asset
mapping and discovery engine that allows develops to search for and identify
software assets such as Java or .NET components, XML schemas or software
We spoke with Duncan Dwelle, chief information technology officer at
Accuchex, an employment services company that administers payrolls, employee
benefits and the like for a variety of clients that use diverse software.
Dwelle's team is working to implement Logidex, which was enhanced recently with
a graphical interface for understanding Web service architectures, patterns and
frameworks. The goal for Dwelle and company is to quickly reassemble software
assets as Web services, regardless of location.
When we spoke, Dwelle's team was working to ''condition the assets we have so
we can bring them into [Logidex]. It's part of an effort to wake up to Web
services,'' said Dwelle.
''We are building a standardized XML template for import,'' he added.
''In our biz, there is a gulf between big competitors who control their
technology and small companies that license from others,'' said Dwelle, adding
that there are many jurisdictions and, thus, slight differences in
implementation across different clients.
Said Dwelle: ''We are not a huge shop. We have a substantial and busy team.
Finding what we already have is our biggest challenge.'' Dwelle added that he has
special reason to be aware of this emerging Web services problem. ''I come to
this from birth,'' he joked. ''My mother was a librarian.''
Naturally, LogicLibrary is not alone in its pursuit of better Web services
component management. Count component specialist Flashline as another player in
the fray. Last year, that company began to promote its Flashline Component
Manager as a solution to this general problem. Others will hoe this path as
For other Programmers Report articles, please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.