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Time to drop the 'Web' from Web services?

'Services' ought to be enough; and they won't all be delivered through Web browsers.

Sys-Con's Jeremey Geelan takes to task the whole meaning of the term "Web services," which he says has been a little contorted through vendor filters in recent years.

He cites the thoughts of Philip Greenspun, a now-retired computer scientist who first coined the term and saw it run amuck. "I might have coined the term but not with its current meaning," he told Geelan. "What I meant by a 'Web service' was what I might today call a 'Web application,' i.e. a Web site that does the job formerly done by a desktop app. The Microsoft .NET-style 'Web services' we just called 'Web-based distributed computing'."

Greenspun says we should drop the "Web"  from Web services. "I personally think something incorporating the standard 1960s and 1970s term 'distributed computing' is the right one. 'Web services' doesn't fit because most/much of this stuff will eventually be happening on the Internet but without what most people think of as the Web (users will not be viewing in HTML though probably HTTP will be used, so technically it could be called 'Web')."

The same phenomenon occurred with application servers a few years back, which were originally called "Web application servers." 

Increasingly the market is talking more and more about SOAs, and less about Web services. In fact, nobody talks about WSOAs, because Web services are but one enabling aspect of SOAs. It will only make sense that 'services' will eventually be the operative term in this space.