Web services and SOA have enormous potential to make our businesses more productive and agile. However, vendors need to start doing a better job of explaining to us why Web services can make a difference, and what parts of Web services really matter. Web services, and by extension, SOA, will never deliver on its promise if decision-makers are confused about it or see it as too complex. A few years back, similar difficulties were encountered in trying to communicate the benefits of CORBA -- the original SOA building block. We risk morphing Web services into what may be perceived as another layer of complexity. A few months back, I co-authored Evans Datas latest survey on Web services development issues. We were left scratching our heads at one key finding: beyond XML, a majority of developers did not use, and were only barely familiar with, the litany of specs that have been released by standards bodies in recent times. These are developers, mind you, the people that know the most about Web services. About two-thirds knew and used XML, but only 35% were well acquainted with SOAP. Fifty-one percent did not know or only heard of WSDL, and 57% were not acquainted with UDDI the other core standards to the Web services equation. Were now working on the next survey, and when the results are released, I will let you know if this yawning knowledge gap has closed to any degree. Imagine the disconnect for those that hold the purse strings and fund Web services and SOA.
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