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Guest editorial: Web Services, Java, and .NET

Oct 28, 2001 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

This article by Ganesh Prasad is a sequel to an earlier one that laid out a strategy for taking on the Microsoft .NET challenge. It contains responses to issues raised after the earlier article. Prasad writes . . .

“My article of August 2001, 'Will Open Source Lose the Battle for the Web?', struck a chord, to put it mildly. Tremendous discussion has taken place in the talkback forums, and I have received the odd e-mail as well, so it was only appropriate for me to digest these and respond.”

“Before going on to discuss the issues raised in the talkbacks, let me very briefly repeat the gist of the article.”

“I used the dramatic shift in webserver marketshare (5% in favour of Microsoft IIS at the expense of Apache) in July 2001 to suggest that Apache as a plain webserver was perhaps losing its appeal to users. In the time that Apache was making minor tweaks to its features, Microsoft has been repositioning its products as a platform to enable “web services”, under the umbrella name “.NET”. This is perhaps making the Microsoft products more attractive to users looking for e-commerce capability in the future.”

“I added that web services are a way for applications to advertise their own capabilities over the web, find other such applications, and call each other to perform transactions without prior or ongoing human intervention. There are Internet standards for these, such as WSDL (Web Services Description Language), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and the newer ebXML (e-Business XML) suite. All of these are XML-derived languages, and can be communicated over the ubiquitous HTTP protocol.”

“I noted that the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) already had a mature infrastructure in place for scalable distributed computing. I suggested that rather than copy the Microsoft architecture for web services, we should use pre-existing Open Source implementations of J2EE components and add implementations of the Internet standards for web services. With a friendly interface topping it off, Open Source would have a convincing alternative to Microsoft's technology.”

“Though I had anticipated some resistance to the idea, I was astonished at the scale and breadth of the opposition I encountered. The points that were raised vary in seriousness and degree of validity, but they all nevertheless need to be addressed. Accordingly, I went through the talkbacks in detail and classified the responses under different heads. It's a fascinating mirror that I can now hold up to the community.”

“(Note: In spite of the humour in the characterisations below, I promise to respond to each argument seriously enough) . . .”

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