Thursday, February 19, 2004

YAWS - Yet Another Web Services Spec

WS-Discovery is a yet another spec. proposed to enhance the way devices can discover and consume Web Services. It is intended as an add-on or supplement to UDDI, although how much it adds is still unclear.

WS-Discovery is focused on two key things: notifying systems through a multicast protocol when a device or service is available, and providing a location "bootstrap" so that UDDI systems and event-driven systems can continue to locate and communicate with the device.

The protocol works by providing a means by which a device can "announce" itself to a local network, and then "chat" with interested systems and devices that are looking to communicate with it.

I have never seen anyone specifically explain how this "chat" is going to work. The only examples we ever get are the same rehashed version of "everything will just work together", sometimes with updated or newly popular terms (like RFID) thrown in. For example:

Steven van Roekel, director of platform strategy at Microsoft, said he envisions a WS-Discovery scenario where one day a truck can drive into a warehouse and RFID (define) tags can be used to register what inventory would be in the truck.

Truck? Warehouse? Is this a warehouse full of fridges that can order more food from the store for you? Register what with what? And why? It is exactly this type of vague and unusable examples that do not help readers to learn anything about the new technology and push adoption rates down and time frames outward.

It is entirely possible that we needed another protocol for connecting devices to web-services rather than just web-services to web-services, I just wish the need, use, and landscape into which this spec. needs to fit into was explained much more clearly.


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