Web services: Evolutionary not Revolutionary

By : |May 24, 2004 0

He spoke to us about the hype cycle associated with Web services, the road map for Indian developers, BEA’s to be launched ‘mobo framework’ and much more.

BEA’s Focus

When asked about the focus of BEA System Smith said, "BEA is typically an application infrastructure company that provides building blocks that other product companies and developers can use to build applications. We are inside the people’s products." He also said that BEA’s aim is to provide various tools to developers, that can be used off the shelf to deliver world-class solutions and standardization has helped BEA to accomplish this, to a great extent.

Web services: Evolutionary not Revolutionary

Smith opined that there is a lot of hype that has got attached to Web services. According to him the technology is ‘evolutionary and not revolutionary,’ because services were build in the CORBA and RMI days also. "Web services is a piece of that evolution, not only data is interchangeable but the way we talk to each other could be programming and application infrastructure neutral. And that is what Web services offered, a protocol independent, infrastructure neutral way of talking. It is evolutionary," he said.

Smith added "developers could make a J2EE code talk to a .Net code in non-Web services days also, using different features and products. What it has given developers is laid a foundation for standardizing another big computing infrastructure where everything could talk to everything, which has never been done before. To developers it gave new tools to do things and business community saw the way services could be delivered."

He also said that Web services are a component of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and without them it would have been difficult to achieve the vision of SOAs. He explained about BEA’s role as an intermediary between the business community and developers. "We are trying to tell business community and developers that there are cultural issues as well as technological ones. We are teaching people how to build services around an environment, teaching them how the world can be broken down into smaller components as that is a also a very important part of developer education other than technology."

Talking about SOAs he said that business process and data are two key components to a business environment. "BEA believes in giving developers the tools with which they can create services, consume services and share services. The SOA defines this ecosystem of Web services," he said.

"Everyone has the technology for SOA, but BEA’s focus is to fill up the vacuum by giving developers best processes, examples, framework, code that will help them with their work to implement business processes." He also said that major players like Microsoft, Sun, Borland etc. must get together to develop these frameworks better for the developer community to use.


Security, an important layer

Speaking on security issues with Web services he said that the world is in the house building stages of Web services, which apart for their benefits have also brought a lot of complexities with them because the main focus is interoperability. "We have to make components that can work well with .Net as well as J2EE, so for the outside world these building blocks may be moving rather slowly but they make a fundamental difference to the way computing is done." "Security is very important layer of Web services framework, followed by reliability, like they have with proprietary closed architecture. Standards are being worked out to address these issues; there is a roadmap to getting in there. There have been a lot of encryption and authentication standards that render Internet as a secure way of transacting. BEA is confident of its focus on security and our next target is reliability. The whole industry is working together to keep these stacks emerging and standardizing the way things are done."

All for developers

Smith clearly stated that BEA does not look at developers as a source of income, according to him they are the people who need to know about the product. "To facilitate this software like BEA Workshop comes to the developers totally free of cost, it is not bound by time limitations, and neither is feature limited. The only limitation is that you cannot move to scaled production. Our market study tells us that this is unparalleled, as other companies provide either a time bound or a feature limited version of products."

Mobo-Framework: the new model

That will enable developers to write applications for the connected and the disconnected mode. According to Smith, "in a Web society things can be used only if your are connected, that to me is a big problem. Mainframe developers always program for an uptime and a downtime, but distributed developers are clueless about how would their applications behave if there is no network. BEA will soon be announcing a model for developers that will enable them to write applications for both the modes: disconnected and connected, it will not be a developer problem any more." "The application automatically synchronizes itself whenever it senses connectivity. Developers will be able to build applications, which will function the same way whether online or offline, using this cohesive model. That is the new part of the Internet that people are yet to experience and will be announced at the BEA conference happening in US." He said that no name has yet been given to this new technology but currently they are referring to it as ‘Mobo Framework.’


India a Developer Powerhouse

In his message for the Indian developers he said "world sees India as a developer powerhouse, but they are being used only to outsource process. I think developers have to learn how to put things together and make them all work together. Indian market has to recognize their capabilities and do something great with that." He cited the example of Infosys who have started consultancy services in US and strongly recommended that other companies should also look at doing the same. "They have to be the solution know how providers," he said.

He also said that for BEA India is an important destination, the Bangalore BEA user group has grown from a small number of 40 to 200 in a span of one year. "We are now looking at spreading all over India. Our aim is to spread global developer awareness and BEA considers India is an important destination."








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