I was talking to a very large financial-sector company in the middle of America in the middle of last week, and the cognitive dissonance around this whole WS-thing is palpable.
These particular guys, they’re a classic hybrid shop with a Java ranch and a .NET plantation and everything needs to talk to everything, and now they want “Web 2.0”, by which they mean interesting community apps built fast. They’d just had their big Microsoft corporate visit, and the word, from Ray Ozzie on down, is that it’s all WS-* all the time.
But they’re cautiously interested in modern Web tech like LAMP & Rails, where the support for that kind of stuff is mixed at best.
Then I come in and give them the REST message and take a few whacks at particularly soft WS-targets (no shortage of those) and talk a little APP, and everyone gets real uncomfortable. I can tell you what we need; some packaging and labeling. Something like the Atom Publishing Protocol, it’s so easy to understand what it does and why you might want to use it, there’s lots of comforting implementations, and when you say “That’s REST at work”, well, heads nod. REST needs a few APP analogues in other sectors, just to help make this stuff easier to understand.
Damn, it’s been a long strange trip. You hear sad stories like Mark Baker’s, and it makes me feel guilty; I’ve been calling the WS-emperor naked almost as long as Mark, but from the comfort of a safe corporate designated-radical job, not really running any risks. We all owe Mark a vote of thanks and, hey: he told you so. And after all that, it’s perfectly OK for there to be anger: “it’s hard to understand how the same people who have screwed up so much of the past near-decade should be given the space in reputable publications to make these types of statements without them being attached to a letter of resignation.”
And yeah, the guys in Redmond can chant their WS-mantras and we’ll even build things like WSIT so Javaland can talk to them. but, you know, the LAMP guys mostly won’t. When the CTO of HP’s Business Technology Optimization group asks, in Is REST eclipsing SOAP?, “Are standards like ATOM or APP eclipsing SOAP? Yes, definitely. For very simple reason—their adoption is way broader and tools support way better”, it’s starting to look like Redmond’s located on a WS-desert-island.