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You can't reboot the Internet, and other comments from Don Box

'Harrumph. Harrumph.'
When we caught up with Microsoft Architect Don Box at TechEd in San Diego, he had a bad cold. In reviewing our notes we find mostly bouts of coughing.

'Harrumph. Harrumph,' said Don, as he soldiered on.
Not wishing to afflict the afflicted, we kept the interview brief. Box, one of the inventors of the XML SOAP standard, has been standing up in front of crowds of developers for years now -- educating, entertaining and even sometimes illuminating. We asked what message he wanted to carry forward to them these days.

'The message is we have a new way of thinking about software that is called 'service-orientation,'' he said. Like others, he sees benefits to this approach versus just plain coding, or the not-so-plain object software methods in vogue in the 1990s.

This move was influenced, some would say, by the Microsoft development community's experience with Microsoft message queuing software in the late 1990s. For Microsoft developers, the move to service-orientation, Box noted, 'was informed by their experience with message-oriented middleware and the distributed object legacy.'

With the services approach, one tries to establish contracts of sorts between software objects, to agree to a set of XML and [increasingly] message-based protocols, and to restrict dependencies between Web service components.

What is different than in the past? You cannot make assumptions as you did while programming in the past, said Box.

'When you update your machine, I don't know that yours will update too. This is different than what we are used to from the past,' said Box, adding for emphasis, 'You can't reboot the Internet.'

These days, a .NET framework project code-named Indigo is a major area of interest for Box, who programs and designs just as much as he evangelizes. Indigo, said to be supported in Longhorn, is a single unified programming experience for developing services using any CLR-compliant language. Key to Indigo, as outlined by Box, is the understanding that services are autonomous, that their compatibility is determined by policy and that they share schema and contracts (not class).

Anything to add, Don?

'Harrumph. Harrumph.'

Thank you.

Box writes on Indigo -- MSDN http://msdn.microsoft.com/Longhorn/understanding/pillars/Indigo/default.aspx
Indigo pages at MSDN -- MSDN http://msdn.microsoft.com/Longhorn/understanding/pillars/Indigo/default.aspx
Don Box on XML 3/4/2003 -- ADTmag,com 

Are developers plumbers? We ask SOAP author Don Box  9/6/2002 -- ADTmag.com 

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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