This debate has been ongoing since the concept of Web services
was first bandied around four years ago. But if findings from a recent
gathering of IT professionals are anything to go by, it's obvious that
some companies are hacking through the hype and putting Web services to
Participants at the inaugural ZDNet Australia Web Services Roundtable
held in Sydney recently resoundingly agreed that the technology has
been part of the IT scene for over a year but its low profile was
mainly due to competitive reasons.
"To us, Web services is an evolution of the technology used to
communicate with our clients and suppliers," Richard Ang, CIO for Web
portal nineMSN, said. NineMSN is a joint venture between Microsoft and
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, one of Australia's leading media
A Web service is a software application available over a network
-- usually the Internet -- that uses a standardised Extensible Markup
Language, or XML, messaging system and is not tied to any one operating
system or programming language. At the heart of the Web services
application environment war lies two camps vying for domination -- Sun Microsytems with J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and Microsoft's .NET.
Ang said implementing Web services on the .NET framework was a natural
progression because the Internet is the backbone of nineMSN's business.
He recalled how content partners used to FTP (file transfer
protocol) files to nineMSN, which would in turn spend time processing
the information before uploading to the Web site.
"Nowadays, the content is in XML and all we need to do is to
'call' or initiate a Web service to complete the file transfer
process," Ang said.
For Tom Radovanic, general manager at diversified finance and investment group Elderslie Finance, the decision to implement Web services was a no-brainer.
"We were committed to a Web services approach even before XML,"
Radovanic said. J2EE is the weapon of choice for Elderslie, which also
offers customised software applications to other financial institutions
-- including the ANZ Bank and the New York Stock Exchange -- as part of
"Web services has enabled our business to grow very quickly," he added.
On how to determine return on investment for Web services
projects, the Roundtable participants said such statistics were
difficult to determine because of its "continuous evolutionary" nature.
They agreed that Web services was a "natural move" for IT departments
looking to make sense of disparate data.
"There no end date to implementing Web services. Honestly, I
wouldn't know where to start if I was asked to do an ROI study on Web
services," said Brian Pittorino, acting CIO, Macquarie Corporate
If justifying funding for Web services remains a challenge, IT
departments should better explain to management how the technology
could be used as a competitive advantage, the participants said.
|Company ||Product pipeline ||What's new ||Bottom line ||What's ahead ||Learn more|
|BEA Systems |
BEA is readying a program to encourage
adoption of a modern system design called services-oriented
architectures. It also has on tap a mobile development project.
March 19, 2004
Getting customers to adopt cutting-edge technologies is critical to BEA's product strategy.
WebLogic Platform suite version 9.0 is due by mid to late 2004.
BEA white papers on WebLogic.
Oracle releases a preview version of Oracle
Application Server that complies with the specifications of Java 2
Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4.
March 17, 2004
The J2EE 1.4 specification makes it simpler for Java programmers to build Web services applications.
Oracle expects to receive final word by May
11 on whether the European Commission will challenge its hostile bid
Web services tutorials from Oracle.
IBM unveils a program to make it easier for
developers to evaluate its software products. It's designed to give a
push to IBM's consolidated development tools strategy.
Feb. 18, 2004
Developers can get evaluation versions of
IBM's Rational, WebSphere, Domino Web document management and Tivoli
WebSphere 6 is set for release in the second half of 2004.
IBM's Webcasts on e-business.
Microsoft backs away from many of the more grandiose uses once envisioned for Passport, its online identification system.
Feb. 23, 2004
While the software will still be inserted
into Microsoft's Internet infrastructure, broader plans to manage
identity information are being deferred to Longhorn, the next version
of the Windows operating system.
Microsoft has delayed plans to ship updates
to its Visual Studio.Net development tool, code-named Whidbey, and its
SQL Server database, code-named Yukon, until next year.
Microsoft's .NET strategic white papers.
|Sun Microsystems |
Sun Microsystems releases a second technical
preview of Java Studio Creator to the 86 companies that have requested
an early look at the tools.
Feb. 18, 2004
Sun is seeking to persuade programmers to make Creator their tool of choice for building Web applications with Java.
Sun will fill out the developer edition of its Java server software with an enterprise version in the latter half of 2004.
Web Services Development: On IT's critical path.
Other players: Borland, Cape Clear,
Source: CNET News.com