Page Four

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-09-20 Print this article Print

: Interview With James Gosling"> eWEEK: Has the software development paradigm had to shift as more companies start to write Web services? It seems like more and more companies are starting to make this a part of their pitch. Gosling: The way that I look at it, people have been building Web services under different names for 20 or 30 years, so there are a lot of protocols that people have used to build communications between components and across networks, and theyve been in pretty wide use for quite a long time. The distinction that SOAP brings to the party over CORBA and XML, some of them are interesting, but I wouldnt call any of them life-changing.
One of the descriptions of XML is that it is HTML for a silicon-based life form. Namely its this observation that weve been building distributed systems for years out of using CORBA and RMI [Remote Method Invocation] and all of that. But as a matter of common practice, people havent been doing a lot of interconnection between disjointed organizations that also are distributed. And weve had these facilities available on the Web for years through HTML—things like auctioning and booking reservations.
What people have done when they want to write an application that finds things on an auction service is theyve essentially screen-scraped the HTML and thats worked perfectly well. Its awkward, but XML is really. One way of looking at XML is a way of cleaning up that process. So I dont see how that changes everything. Theres certainly a mindset and a business proposition people have to answer about—do you want to have what services you are offering on the Web available to other organizations available through something other than the Web? So do you want to have the ability to have applications that other people write talk to your airline reservations or auctioning or online payments or whatever? And I think the real hard issues there are the business ones. Do people want to? I dont know. A lot of companies see their Web pages projecting a lot of their identity. And one of the complaints Ive heard about Web services is it would cause people like Travelocity or Expedia to essentially submerge their identity. And I think its going to be an interesting social experiment to see what people do. In terms of developing and building distributed systems, boy, thats been around for years. eWEEK: Thats just it. You get one side or the other. One side says its been around for years, its just a rehash of things that either werent ready to go earlier or failed. And on the other side you get companies playing it like mad. Gosling: I wouldnt say that the other messaging systems have been failures, theyve been resounding successes. There are literally millions of developers out that that have written applications using CORBA and RMI and a variety of other things that work perfectly well. (Editors Note: This story has been updated since its original posting to specify the location of Goslings Palo Alto, Calif., office.)

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel