Gosling bursts the Web services bubble

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is an overhyped rehash of RPC (remote procedure calls) that will evolve into a semichaotic system of integrated services, James Gosling said Monday.

Gosling, vice president and fellow at Sun Microsystems Inc. and recognized as the father of Java, today went about deflating any hype around Web services protocols such as SOAP and UDDI [Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration], instead pointing to another vision of integrated online services and IT infrastructures that lies ahead.

"[Web services] is really all about exposing the services that people have already been building, but exposing them to people who perhaps may use them in unplanned ways," he said at the SIGS Conference for Java Development here.

The current state of Web services sees the pipelines of different applications talking to each other in line with the development concept that "the computer is the network," he explained.

The most interesting thing facing developers is how they will cater to the "semichaotic soup" of different devices, such as wireless handhelds, that are emerging to access Web services, Gosling said.

As a result, he said the challenge is to turn the evolution of Web services into a set of deliverable tools that integrate existing applications.

"The killer app in this Web services world is synergy," he said. A "dream example" of synergy would be a health care system where patient information and test results were entered into a system only once, he said.

Looking down the development road a couple of years, Gosling said in a world where standard XML (Extensible Markup Language) schemas offer true application integration, talk about Web services will move from the infrastructure layer to applications. And in the Java world, he argued, we will see advances in the platforms supporting applications for desktops, embedded systems, real-time Java, wireless, smart cards, and even games.

"The big story is the end-to-end, side-to-side integration of technology. From the developer's point of view, this is the way to think about this evolution, he said. "A market, not a product," that's what J2EE [Java 2, Enterprise Edition] is all about, Gosling argued.

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