Web services based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) are becoming an essential part of computing and companies should take the emergence of this technology into consideration as they plan the development of their IT infrastructures, a Microsoft official said on Wednesday at the company's Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference 2001 here.
"Plan around XML-based Web services," said Neil Charney, director of the company's .Net Developer Solutions Group, during a keynote speech.
Companies should make sure that their developers are getting up to speed on this new technology, and before making IT purchases they should investigate how the products they are thinking about buying support XML-based Web services, Charney said.
XML is at the heart of Microsoft's .Net distributed-computing platform, which Microsoft introduced in mid-2000 and upon which the vendor is basing its current and future product development. The .Net platform is being designed to allow for the creation and provision of XML-based Web services that will be available and accessible from a broad variety of devices, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and PCs.
The goal, ultimately, is to create a computing universe in which there is less "friction" between disparate systems and more interoperability, allowing an easier exchange of data, Charney said. "You can't tell your clients and business partners which systems to use," he said.
XML Web services are "reusable pieces of software" that interact over a network using standards such as XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and which can be combined and used in conjunction with other applications, according Microsoft.
"You need any-to-any integration" between applications, devices, operating systems and servers to function in this new phase of the digital economy, Charney said.
Microsoft is now building new products designed for XML-based computing and also retooling existing products to fit into the .Net architecture, including development tools, servers and operating-system software, Charney said.