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InfoQ Article: Secure and Reliable Web Services

by Miko Matsumura on Jul 04, 2006 |
Organizations have numerous IT systems that need to exchange structured data, both within (A2A, EAI) and between organizations (B2B). The exchange of these data is handled in many different ways. The different solutions lead to incompatibility, delays and extra costs when setting up new links between systems or re-using existing ones. Web Services can become the single standard for all exchange of structured data. After waiting over 5 years, 2 important Web Services specifications have finally been endorsed: WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging. Will these specifications allow the adoption of web services as a standard for all communication within and between organizations?

Guy Crets, partner at Integration consultancy Apogado has written an article for InfoQ addressing these questions. Read Secure and Reliable Web Services.

Guy concludes:
When secure, reliable and standard Web Services come true, the same technology can be used for synchronous and asynchronous communication both within and between organizations. First of all, this can lead to a very important cost reduction and commoditization. Secondly, Web Services technology becomes an important enabler for Service Oriented Architecture. Services can easily and quickly be published and consumed within and between organizations, leading to an enormous flexibility.

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Good writeup, but feels like a letdown! by Michael Burke

I thought this was a neat little summary, which is firmly rooted in the real, messy world as opposed to the imaginary picture often painted by vendors, book authors and consultants.

I was kind of hoping that an attempt would be made to answer the hypothetical questions raised in the summary and throughout the article.. what does the author actually *think* will happen? I get the feeling there's skepticism - why?

Are there other competing standards in the offing (seems to be par for the course in the WS-* world)? Are there complications that may hamper adaption?

I get the feeling a lot of people are waiting to see how this plays out before betting on a horse. The fact that WS-ReliableMessaging is based on a non-ratified standard (WS-Addressing) shows that this stuff is still in its infancy.

I don't think most people will be making a choice anyway - it will simply turn out that large players (eg Walmart!) choose a platform, and everyone scurries to integrate. Let's just hope that a vast majority of large players make the same (and 'right') choice.

Re: Good writeup, but feels like a letdown! by Guy Crets

Michael,

I must confess that I was pretty disappointed when I learned some time ago that Microsoft WCF (aka. Indigo) would not support persistent WS-RM messaging. But I keep hoping: nice, persistent WS-RM implementations from e.g. BEA or CapeClear are very promising.

I remain convinced that Web Services are the way to go. A single, secure and reliable XML based protocol will really do wonders.

Therefore, I'm not that enthousiastic about the new AMQP protocol. This protocol can be used within the corporate firewall. But WS-RM (or WS-RX) holds the fantastic promise of one single protocol both within and between organizations.

My recommendation: "contract first", start focusing on the message formats, make a language out of the XML alphabet soup. Get the upper layers of your systems to talk XML!

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