I tend to use the term 'web services' very loosely, using it to describe individual service components as well as composites made up of multiple components. This very cogent explanation by Amy Mizoras of IDC makes the difference between the two very clear web services are the underlying component services, while applications are what you get when you couple them together. Therefore, she concludes, application service providers (ASPs) are not the same as web service providers. But while I would agree with the premise she starts from, I'm not sure that the difference is as clear-cut as all that. She seems to assume that applications will always be delivered as composite packages, while web services will always be delivered as individual components. I think the demarcation will be a lot fuzzier than that. ASPs will offer optional web services that allow clients to customise their applications, while web service providers will often pre-bundle selected components to make it easier for clients to build them into finished applications.
posted by Phil Wainewright 10:59 AM (GMT) | comments | link
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Don't let vendors tie you into their web services platforms
Frank Moss, who as founder and chairman of Bowstreet is among the world's longest-serving web services entrepreneurs, warned last week that for all their protestations about open standards, all of the major vendors are actually trying to tie customers into their own platforms. They'll achieve this because customers will build their web services applications as integrated systems, rather than adopting a loosely-coupled model. But he believes there is another way. His conclusion is that a new, portable, vendor-neutral "Web services automation" layer of software will emerge that sits on top of all the major vendors' platforms, which "will let companies bust out of the wet cement of traditional application development by automatically assembling any vendor's Web services when they're needed." I think he's right but I'd add that companies don't have to wait, either. Assembling web services components into loosely-coupled composite applications isn't really a matter of having the right tools. It's more about having the right attitude of mind.
posted by Phil Wainewright 6:32 AM (GMT) | comments | link
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Last week's launch of BEA WebLogic Workshop, fomerly known as Cajun, completes BEA's integration of the intellectual property and team that it acquired when it bought Crossgain last year. The most notable member of that team is Crossgain's founder Adam Bosworth, now VP of engineering at BEA, and one of the key champions of loosely-coupled web services. There's a useful outline of the thinking behind WebLogic Workshop in an interview Bosworth gave earlier this year. The product is intended to do the same for the development of web services-based applications using J2EE as Microsoft has done for.Net-based applications with Visual Studio that is, make it as easy and accessible as possible for the mainstream developer.
posted by Phil Wainewright 1:02 AM (GMT) | comments | link
Assembling on-demand services to automate business, commerce, and the sharing of knowledge