May 17, 2005

The Third Age of Web Services

As I look back over the events of the last few weeks, it feels like we have now definitely entered the Third Age of Web Services.

Here's the taxonomy I'm thinking about:

First Age of Web Services - Basic Web Services
Focus was on creating the base communication and messaging layer - including SOAP, WSDL and UDDI specifications.
Second Age of Web Services - Advanced Web Services
Focus was creating the WS-* stack for Advanced Web Services - including WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-AtomicTransaction, WS-SecureConversation and WS-Policy specs among others.
Third Age of Web Services - Applied Web Services
Focus is now on applying the Web services stack to specific applications and vertical domains.
The most recent examples of these usages include the Identity Metasystem (based primarily on WS-Trust), WebSSO (based primarily on WS-MetadataExchange), and slightly older examples include the Devices Profile for Web Services and WS-Management.
Specifications at this stage are mostly just profiles of existing specs created during the Second Age rather than entirely new ground works.

In short, it seems like the WS-* stack is now merging into the core plumbing, and attentions are now correctly focused on how to use that plumbing to do new and cool things with distributed systems.
This is a big step forward from where everybody was fixated on the color of the pipes or the type of solder used to join things together as has been the case in the past.

Update: While I was preparing this post, someone also mentioned Jamie Lewis made some similar comments at DIDW last week.

Arguments over the chemical composition of asphalt (the protocols necessary to build the standard framework) is of little value to customers who need a solution to a very real problem. What customers want is products and services that solve their identity problems (the cars and trucks that actually help people get somewhere) but that work in an interoperable system (cars that run on the public road).
Posted by Jorgen Thelin at May 17, 2005 10:00 PM - [PermaLink]