The IT Strategy Letter
A digest of Doug Kaye's weblogs for the week ending February 21, 2003 (Subscribe)


Web Services Strategies
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Web Services Strategies

The NY Times and Web Services. Steve Lohr offers a high-level introduction to the technology and politics of web services. But Dave Winer of Userland Software vehemently disagrees. Dave and I have traded email on this subject in the past, and while I agree with him that desktop-to-desktop and desktop-to-server applications of web services have already proven to be exciting--albeit not yet too far from the sandbox--they're not the only games in town. The business-to-business web services touted by the BigCos get most of the press coverage, but that's the way it's always been. And having seen what's already in use at both ends of the web-services spectrum, I've found the BigCo version based on what what Hagel and Brown refer to as long-lived loosely coupled asynchronous transactions (LLLCATs) even more revolutionary.

But it's not an either/or. There's no reason web-services technology can't be used in both environments, and I predict the results in each will be equally dramatic. There's no need to trash one vision in order to promote the other. I don't think Dave's going to like my new book, since it's all about (as he refers to it) that BigCo view of web services. But I'll send him a copy anyway. :-)
Posted Monday, February 03, 2003 9:34:19 AM

Second Only to the Internet. The Yankee Group says web services "have the potential to be second only to the Internet in the importance and impact on corporations and consumers [and that] mainstream adoption of web services is most likely 2 to 3 years away."
[Source: Yankee Group, Top Vendors Already Stake Their Claims in Web Services.]
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2003 1:14:30 PM

OASIS' UBL versus the Semantic Web. Early last year I linked to a December 2001 paper from OASIS on their idea for a Universal Business Language (UBL), an XML version of EDI. Last month in InfoWorld, Paul Krill wrote that a version 0.70 spec was ready for review, with a general release expected later this year--roughly 18 months after the first description. On one hand, that's awfully slow and typical of the UN/CEFACT process. On the other hand, web services aren't ready for UBL anyway, so perhaps the timing's not so bad after all.

In Krill's story he quotes Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink as saying he "doubted OASIS would succeed in providing standard forms for business. [Schmelzer said] 'How can hospitals and manufacturing firms and aerospace industries all share the same notion of an invoice?...Even if they all adopt the core business language, they're going to have different extensions on it.'" Schmelzer, a smart guy, is said by Krill to favor the semantic web instead, although I see the concepts as somewhat orthogonal.
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2003 1:08:46 PM

Bob Sutor's Wish List. IBM's Dr. Bob's prayers for 2003 include:

  • Bob says "this is the breakout year for web-services technology," and he'd like to see a "Web-Services Enabled" label on new enterprise software. [Bob, I think you're one or two years early, but I guess that's your job.]
  • Interoperability issues still need to be addressed. [Yup, still problems at the SOAP layer, let alone above it.]
  • Security: "Make IT systems integration no more open to risk than cashing a check at the bank."
  • The "freeing of Java" from Sun's control. [Only IBM could hope to convince Sun to let it go. Even then, it's an uphill battle, since Sun has so little left to hang onto.]
  • Linux becomes the operating system of choice for web services. [Another nail in Sun's (Solaris) coffin. Oh yeah...then there's Microsoft and .NET.]
[Source: ZDNet]
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2003 12:54:39 PM

Tony Scott, GM's CTO, continues to be a prolific evangelist for web services, and this Computerworld interview reflects some of his latest thinking. The questions aren't the most intelligent, but the answers contain some important insights:

  • "Today, we have to embed lots of business logic and rules in every single application that uses vehicle identification numbers." (GM has dozens if not hundreds of such apps.) GM is "creating a VIN web service that in effect will encapsulate all of the logic and business you don't have to support and maintain that in hundreds of applications."
  • GM is "unlikely to rip out [a high-power EAI engine] and try to replace it with web services."
  • Web services "force an architectural discipline into your environment that you may not have had."
  • They have "a few internal" web services in production.
  • "...we're several months to a year away before I'd feel comfortable..." offering external web services. The two issues are security and scalability.
The interview is worth reading for its perspective on what a large enterprise is really thinking and doing in the web-services space.
Posted Friday, February 14, 2003 6:30:40 AM

Web Services Opportunities in the Transportation Industry Not Strong. "The industry is experiencing turmoil that began before Sept. 11, 2001. Airlines' top-heavy cost structures and inefficient hub-spoke routes compounded economic recession. The recent United Airlines and U.S. Air bankruptcies highlight the industry's financial troubles, and the need for improved security processes for both passengers and cargo will divert much IT investment." Robert Goodwin of Gartner Dataquest provides a detailed analysis of the issues and vendor opportunities in this market. [Source: Tech Republic]
Posted Thursday, February 13, 2003 4:46:42 AM

Web Services to Reach $21 Billion by 2007: IDC. "Reasearch firm IDC ( says Web services will drive a total opportunity in the U.S. of $21 billion by 2007, and will eventually peak at $27 billion in 2010." [Source: The Web Host Industry Review]
Posted Wednesday, February 05, 2003 10:50:35 AM

Loosely Coupled--The Missing Pieces of Web Services. My new book is almost here. Take advantage of the pre-publication special offer, and be among the first to receive your copy. Check out the early reviews.
Posted Wednesday, February 19, 2003 12:12:45 PM

Web Hosting Strategies

Web Hosting Monthly. The February issue is available on line. This month features:

  • An article on Keynote Systems (Rawlson O'Neil King)
  • Liam Eagle writes about hosting companies preparing for high volumes of small and medium enterprises.
  • Shirley Siluk Gregory predicts the future of web hosting.
  • Falling prices for hosting are covered by Esther Bauer.
  • Your's truly explains the new SMBmeta protocol.
  • Rawlson O'Neil King explores the increasing use of Linux in large enterprises.
  • Charles Weaver presents strategies web-hosting vendors should consider in preparation for mergers and acquisitions.
Posted Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:56:09 AM

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