Riding on SOAP
SOAPs shoulders will need to be pretty broad to support all its been promised to do, especially for a protocol only about 2 years old. Still, its momentum is stunning, and Web services are a reality already because of how quickly and broadly SOAP and related technologies have been adopted, even by archrivals such as Microsoft and Sun. SOAP site www.soapware.org lists 71 SOAP-enabled software packages, and many others are now in development.
In addition, Web services meta- infrastructure—such as directories of available services and proposed standards on encryption, digital signing and message routing—are rapidly emerging. Directories of services are listed in Universal, Description, Discovery and Integration directories at Microsoft and IBM, with other companies soon to follow.
In two to three years, we could see a much more fluid model of where and how applications get information and carry out transactions. Well-defined interfaces based on the easily manipulated XML, combined with internal and external service directories, will make it unnecessary for the most part to reinvent the programming wheel.