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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Today's era of XML web services is coming to an end. That's according to top thinkers at Microsoft Corp and IBM Corp, companies synonymous with a brace of specifications working their way through standards bodies and organizations.

Don Box, Microsoft architect and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) co-author, last week called XML web services protocols such as SOAP "plumbing". He said the frenzy of work by vendors on this plumbing is starting to wind down.

Speaking at the XML Web Services One conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Box is reported to have told delegates that IT infrastructure is now starting to catch up work on protocols. That is vendors, like IBM and Microsoft, are implementing protocols into products, which will soon find their way into organizations.

"We have a couple more years of plumbing work, but after that we move on to applications," Box said. Box last year told ComputerWire the industry was still searching for the "killer" web services application.

Box added some of today's web services standards are mature and need to be finalized. Picking on a subject close to his heart, Box called SOAP version 1.3 a "bad idea" because the specification currently provides functionality needed for a SOAP implementation. "SOAP 1.2 should be the end of the line," Box is reported to have said.

IBM's director of e-business standards Bob Sutor, also speaking at the show, backed Box but said work on protocols would be wrapped-up in a matter of months rather than years. Sutor predicted standardization would continue for the "next couple of years" though organizations like the Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization.

He said, though: "For the big picture we've only got six to nine months on this."

Sutor said business processing, workflow, transactions and systems management are going to be important areas of future activity.

© ComputerWire

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