Monday, March 5, 2007

W3C Workshop Day 2

The second day of the workshop was even more interesting then the second one. The theme of this day was "Separate or Together? (i.e. one Web or two?)". The "mashup" technology has demonstrated you can offer up a Service on the Web and people can use it their applications just fine. Think of the Google maps - Greg's List integration alone. What does this mean for WebServices? Should the W3C create a REST Description language (e.g. standardize WADL)? Mark Baker went as far as saying we don't really need WebServices at all, but I think the general consensus was that some form of integration of the two world would be a better alternative. Both technologies have their own strengths, but it would be nice of WebService technology would still 'work' on the Web. In other words WebService should at least support the HTTP/GET, and the URI should be identifying address.

This brought up a nice discussion on EPRs, which was interesting for me, since JBossESB is using EPRs. EPRs look a lot like URIs, but they can contain more information, and they are not identifiers like URIs are. In fact an EPR should be able to "fall back" to a URI is its simplest form, in a manner that is consistent with REST. Let's learn from the Web and try to make the Web and Web Services live in Harmony. Both architectures are in use and the market place will determine where these technologies develop. Maybe use the URI part of the EPR as identifier. The Web has taught us the power of the URI. Let's see what WADL can do for REST.

Finally I wanted to mention a presentation by David Booth on Resource Description Framework (RDF). His point is that to (automated) service interaction is hindered by non-consistent data naming ('babelonization'). And RDF provides a framework to describe a piece of data in a standardized manner such that data integration can be automated. Such a framework would reduce the complexity of service integration dramatically. Maybe something our Smooks engine can take advantage off by generating transformations on the fly.

It looks like time and the marketplace will tell if and how the two Webs will converge.


Mark Little said...

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