Now that we are well past the hype of Web Services, what can they do for your company? Before we answer this question, let’s clarify what Web Services really are.
One traditional definition states that they are any service available over the Internet using a standardized XML messaging system and not tied to any operating system or programming language. In the early days this was true, but the definition has evolved over the past decade. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines Web Services as a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. Gartner defines them as “a software component that can be accessed by another application (client, server, another Web service) through the use of generally available, ubiquitous protocols and transports (HTTP).” Continue reading
The recent smash hit, Web Services, has played from coast to coast on the business “Hypo-Tronic Gizmo” for several years now. One might even suggest that if DJ-Bob had a weekly Top 10 countdown featuring the most prolific debuts in business-hype history, Web Services would be at or near the top (clouds are also floating fairly high these days). This Hypo-Tronic Gizmo (or HG device) is extremely unique because it plays only what the listener wishes to hear. For top-level executives the device delivers a simple, “Cha-Ching”. For mid-level managers it renders a more subtle, “Here we go again”, reprise. But, for those in the trenches – the technical implementers and end users – it screams, “Fire in the hole!” Yet, surprisingly, to those who have lived through the budget-blowing and non-committing trends of the past, Web Services has actually delivered a Certified Platinum hit that many advocates had hoped it would achieve. Continue reading
When I think about integration, the first thing that comes to mind is application to application integration (A2A). Gartner states that application integration aims to make independently designed application systems work together. Their definition applies to my interpretation of A2A integration, which is the connection of disparate applications both inside and outside the firewall, regardless of location (including the Cloud). This interpretation includes integration between a few or many applications and encompasses all integration aspects such as, communications and messaging, translation and transformation, routing, process automation, data access and even extends to application access. This can apply to scenarios such as transaction replication or process activation across applications, providing web access to legacy applications and publishing information to mobile devices. Most of the integrations between these disparate applications used to occur by means of proprietary APIs, messaging or a combination of both. This can still be the case, but a larger percentage of integration today is mediated by integration middleware or via web services. Continue reading
When setting up a new trading partner or business integration process, thinking through the process beforehand can greatly decrease the implementation time and help minimize problems. Many integration projects can come to a grinding halt in the middle of implementation if it’s only later realized that required data is not configured in your backend application, or if your system doesn’t support the particular communication protocol your new trading partner intends to use. “Looking before leaping” will help alleviate potential problems later.
In my last blog, I talked about UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) including where it’s been and where it might be going. In this article I’m going to take a different look at UDDI and consider the question, how useful is it to find what you’re looking for? One aspect of UDDI that has been overlooked by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), the Web Services standards body, is how to find services faster and more efficiently.
UDDI allows service providers to publish data about themselves and their Web Services, and supports simple searching for services. The standard UDDI search uses a single search criterion, such as business location, business name, service type by name, business category or business identifier. This limits the efficacy of UDDI for general service discovery. An example is searching by business category; the search might return the service you want, but you might need to filter the results to find it. Continue reading