Page Three

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-06-30 Print this article Print

How do you folks feel about the nature of the Java process at this point and whether its moving forward in a way that makes many of the main IT players important partners in that development?

Farrell: I think that there has been some talk about, and ongoing concern about, the ownership of Java. I think, when it comes down to it, theres also a lot of talk around standards and what that word actually means. One important thing to point out is, "standard" to us is how many people actually are using and adopt something. I think one thing that J2EE and Java have done very well is gain the adoption of a very large group of customers and vendors in the marketplace.


  • Its not the platform: Neither Java nor .Net makes it easy.
  • Its not the tools and technologies: Services must be aligned with business models.
  • Its not rip and replace: Services should extend and assist in integrating current applications.
  • Its not a future scenario: Specifications, tools and opportunities are available now.
    Source: eWEEK Labs
  • I think it works very well in its goal, which is having all of us—for the first time in history, really— all of the major companies, except for a few, on the same platform and working together to better that platform.

    IBM has made a lot of investments in Java. How do you feel about IBMs role in the process of improving and refining its definition?

    Norsworthy: Weve invested in Java from very early stages, and I think the point is right on that whats important here is the level of customer adoption we have, which has just been phenomenal. So, of course, the road going forward will always have a couple of turns in it, and well continue to work to evolve that process to be better and better. But IBM and its customers have a significant investment in Java thats been successful for all of us.

    What made .Net necessary, as opposed to allowing J2EE to be even more pervasive than it is?

    Charney: To go back to the point that has been made throughout the conversation so far, one of the key elements of Web services is this notion of heterogeneity and connecting various systems together. Thats one of the key areas that our customers have made very clear—that theyre going to make investments in a variety of systems and a variety of platforms. So whats important is that the vendors are aligned around a way for those different systems and applications to communicate with one another.

    One of the key elements of .Net is support for standards—such as WSDL [Web Services Description Language] SOAP [Simple Object Access Protocol] and XML—as key models for interoperability. Certainly, Java has a challenge in the sense that it has not yet standardized around a Web services model. I think its going to get there, but—and I think rightly so—none of the vendors on this call is waiting for that to happen.

    Whats the distinction between an application built around a Web services model and an application that can send and receive SOAP messages and exchange XML-formatted data?

    Charney: When youve architected an application around Web services, its really built for that. So what that translates into is significantly less lines of code in order to get something exposed as a Web service. The challenge is when something like J2EE really wasnt designed and built around a Web services model—its sort of an after-the-fact integration.

    But, at the end of the day, whatever the customer decides on implementing, the thing we cannot disagree on—and we should all be consistent upon—is that the language of Web services is consistent. And I think thats where organizations like WS-I [Web Services-Interoperability] and organizations that are committed to helping make sure that that interoperability exists come in.

    Norsworthy: One of the key messages here that we must continue to emphasize is that Web services and J2EE and .Net are not the same things. J2EE and .Net are the same, but Web services is something entirely different. Web services ensures interoperability, but it does not affect platform choice because what people look for in a platform is investment protection.

    Weve heard from a number of prospective enterprise users that Web services technologies are seen as a cost-effective means of application integration and of getting synergy across different platforms and different families of technology. However, these prospective users are also quite skeptical that the technologies are as secure and robust as they need to be.

    Farrell: We have customers today using Web services in real-world situations—very secure, highly available Web services. I think what were missing today is the standard approach to that. Weve obviously implemented something because the standard wasnt there. WS-I and others are working toward building the Web services security standards and the other standards that you actually need for reliability on top of that, but that doesnt mean that the base core fundamentals of Web services arent ready. The concept does work.


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