Tim Bray Goes Off on WS-Interop

I tend to agree with Mr Bray’s WS-Interop posting. Much of what is being created under the guise of standards feels like it is just making real interoperability more and more elusive. From a pure interoperability standpoint, introducing SOAP into an interaction just tags on non-value-added bloat with the ‘benefit’ of having the interaction be more toolable (and you more dependent on the tools).

WS-* isnÂ’t about standards. ItÂ’s about what Microsoft (there are partners, but itÂ’s mostly Microsoft) chooses to implement while waving the WS-banner and retroactively shaking Standards Fairy Dust over the process. Which is OK, as far as it goes; I get the impression that Indigo WCF is actually some pretty neat software that will be useful to a lot of Microsoft customers, and Sun has a stake in the ground saying weÂ’re going to interoperate with the Microsoft WS-stack. Do I think this stuff is going to Change The World? No. Do I think that this is the real future of Web Services? No.

Standards have their place and certainly serve large corporations to help cut through the sometimes dense forests of (ad hoc) internally adopted technologies. However, on the wild, wild Internet, simple is better. This is not to say that standards have no place; afterall, there wouldn’t be a Internet without TCP/IP, HTTP, SSL, HTML, etc. In the end, the simplest, most open solution tends to win.

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