More dark clouds gather; storm signals include the general trashing of the whole WS-* stack by Gartner’s Nick Gall, the continuing broadsides (latest here) from Pete Lacey, and Give It a REST, a solid piece of argument from Larry O’Brien. But I think the real take-away, while a little subtler than “WS-* is broken”, is becoming pretty obvious.
Start with Services on the Web and Web Services, a position paper from British Telecom. I quote:
So the SOAP “stack” is a mess, and currently only the simplest of services are able to interoperate. However we believe this situation is likely to improve long term, in part due to the adoption of profiles published by the WS-I, but mainly due to the emergence of a reference implementation in the form of Microsoft’s WCF.
More evidence: Our Robin Wilton recently asked Can Sun do WS-*?, which is about our “Project Tango”. The idea is to work with Microsoft to shake things down so that Java’s WS-* interoperates with WCF, their implementation.
It’s not as though there’s a lot of choice. Basically every .NET-centric developer now has WCF in their hands, and the tooling is good, so it’ll be easy for them to expose things via WS-*, so they will. Because of the basic brokenness of WS-*, it’s silly to expect this to just interoperate with other implementations; you need a fairly major bipartisan effort to get any two instances of this booger to play nice. Microsoft’s customers and Sun’s customers are pretty well the same people, and they expect these things to work the way the architecture astronauts claim they will.
If there were any startups betting their future on WS-* they’d pretty well be toast, because they’d have real trouble getting attention from either the .NET or Java teams. But that’s OK, because startups are generally too smart to bet on this kind of crock.
WS-*? In the real world, it’s about being able to interoperate with WCF, and while that’s a worthwhile thing, that’s all it’s about. It’s not like HTTP or TCP/IP, truly interoperable frameworks, it’s like DCOM; the piece of Windows’ network-facing surface that Microsoft would like you to code to. For now, anyhow; it’ll be at least as easy as DCOM to walk away from when the embarrassment gets too great.