Herewith a brief report from the opposition benches in the WS-Parliament. My recent piece introducing the “loyal opposition” idea provoked quite a bit of feedback, some of which is worth highlighting. Also, those of us in the skeptics camp have been heard to mutter darkly about “thousands of pages of specifications” and I wondered whether those barbs were justified, so I had my computer count ’em. Read on for the answer. [Update: I may have miscounted.] [Again: pushback on the JSR analogy.][Again: Hey, they added some more!]

Oppositionists · Some contributors to the conversation planted their cyber-butts firmly on the opposition cyber-benches. My favorites were Rob Sayre on WS-Halloween and Sean McGrath, who points usefully to Gall’s law and is amusing.

Loyalists · Speaking from, as it were, the government benches, Dare Obasanjo says WS-* Specs Are Like JSRs; hmm. And let’s give the last word to Microsoft’s Matt Powell who thinks it’s all pretty well just fine and offers this remarkable statement, which I’ll let stand on its own:

... if you don't understand all the specs, don't worry about it. Tools are being created by people everywhere to make it so you can just indicate the capabilities you need and the rest will be done for you.

JSR/JCP? · Geoff Arnold argues that Dare’s analogy of WS-* to JSRs is broken.

How Many Pages? · Since the WS-* thing is Microsoft-led, I decided to start at their Web Services Developer Center (oh hey, Matt Powell’s piece is featured there now). It has a pointer to the Specifications Map. It only took an hour or so to run through and count the pages, PDF-izing those that weren’t already that way. Here are the results. I’ve annotated each with one of (M) meaning Microsoft-hosted, (O) meaning OASIS-hosted, and (W) meaning W3C-hosted.

Group Spec Page Count
Web Services Security (O) 56
UsernameToken Profile (O) 15
X.509 Certificate Token Profile (O) 16
Policy Language (M) 13
Trust Language (M) 41
Secure Conversation Language (M) 17
Web Services Federation Language (M) 28
WS-Federation: Active Requestor Profile (M) 14
WS-Federation: Passive Requestor Profile (M) 13
Kerberos Binding (M) 17
Reliable Messaging
Reliable Messaging (M) 21
Coordination (M) 16
Atomic Transaction (M) 10
Business Activity Framework (M) 13
WSDL 1.1 (W) 32
Policy Framework (M) 15
Policy Attachment (M) 10
Policy Assertions Language (M) 9
Dynamic Discovery (M) 22
Metadata Exchange (M) 23
SOAP 1.2 Primer (W) 39
SOAP 1.2 Messaging Framework (W) 47
SOAP 1.2 Adjuncts (W) 25
Addressing (M) 15
MTOM (W) 13
Enumeration (M) 27
Eventing (M) 21
Transfer (M) 17
SOAP-over-UDP (M) 7
Web Services for Management (M) 23
Business Process
BPEL4WS (M) 74
Specification Profiles
Devices Profile (O) 24
WS-I Basic Profile (O) 50

Update: In the initial version of this, I asked “Question: what happened to BPEL?” I took another look at the page on October 28th and discovered new arrivals: WS-Management, BPEL4WS, and the WS-I and Device profiles; so the total went from 612 to 783 pages. My earlier comment still stands: “Darn, it’s hard to stay on top of this stuff.”

569 More Pages? · That’s how many Michael Hanson says I missed.

Conclusions? · To be fair, 783 isn’t “thousands of pages” and I shall cease those particular mutterings. I’d thought there was more; then in a couple of places I noticed these specs providing a list of others now obsoleted, WS-Gone but not WS-Forgotten. Does this mean we should worry that some of the ones above will be obsoleted? As in, when is it safe to start building?

This exercise, for a variety of reasons, has not really abated my concerns.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
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September 21, 2004
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