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Anne Thomas Manes

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Top Stories by Anne Thomas Manes

There is an old saying among standards wonks: "The most wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them." And this truism is more applicable today than ever before. There are so many WS-* specifications, I've started referring to them as WS-Vertigo. But there is a reason that there are so many of them. The Web Services Framework (WSF) relies on a composable architecture. One of the primary tenets of the WSF is to keep things as simple as possible. Therefore, if an application doesn't require security, reliability, or transactions, you shouldn't clutter up the infrastructure with these capabilities. But at the same time, if the application does require security, reliability, and/or transactions, then you should be able to add support for the specific set of capabilities you need. Refactoring SpecificationsIn order to enable a pick-and-choose, plug-a... (more)

And The Winner is…

I was quite amused by a series of articles talking about the battle between Java and .NET that appeared in mid-January. One article said that Java has a two-to-one lead over .NET based on an informal online poll. Meanwhile, in an article entitled "Outlook: Java tech trends through 2004," Mark Driver at Gartner claimed, "Microsoft's emerging NET platform will continue to garner most of the vision and mind share for Web-services-based development efforts." And in an article entitled, "Enterprise Java Bulks Up," Thomas Murphy of META Group said, "The lack of standards support will n... (more)

WS-I and W3C

IBM and Microsoft recently launched another Web services-related effort - the Web Services Interoperability Organization (www.ws-i.org), or WS-I for short. Its charter is to promote Web services interoperability across platforms, operating systems, and programming languages. I, for one, view interoperability as absolutely critical to the success of Web services technology. I don't think I'm alone in the view, since more than 60 companies joined the consortium within the first week. Obviously the formation of this group is a "good thing." So I was a bit amused by the immediate de... (more)

SOAP and Security

Based on the number of questions I get on the subject, quite a few people think that SOAP isn't secure. It's a bit hard to answer these questions because SOAP is neither secure nor insecure. It's not within the scope of SOAP to implement security. SOAP is simply a mechanism to package information to send between two applications. Even so, it's easy to secure SOAP messages, and SOAP provides an extensible mechanism that allows you to convey security information in your messages. Security is a complicated topic, so let me start by explaining the basic goals of security when dealin... (more)

The Secret Sauce

How do you define a Web service? If you ask five people to give you a definition, you'll probably get at least six answers. Is a Web service any application that can be accessed over the Web, or is it limited to applications that expose a programmatic interface? Is it the code that implements the service or the interface to the code? Do you have to use SOAP? What about XML-RPC? Or RosettaNet? Or FIXML? Or some other XML protocol? And do you have to use XML? Does SWIFT qualify as a Web service? I know that many people will disagree with me, but my basic definition is as follows: ... (more)