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Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing

In this article, Bradley defines the true meaning and purpose of Web Services, as well as the impact they will have on IT in the very near future.

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By: Bradley Brown
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February 16, 2003
  1. · Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing
  2. · The Difference
  3. · The Impact of Web Services
  4. · Conclusion

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Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing
(Page 1 of 4 )

Like many tech buzzwords, a lot of people use the term "Web Services" but few seem to understand it. I feel qualified to assert such a claim, having developed Web Services for clients, lectured on Web Services at conferences in front of my peers and been called a "leading authority" on the subject by Web Services vendors.

From all those experiences, I've learned the best way to describe Web Services is by this analogy: Web Services are to enterprise component architecture as the RCA phono jack was to component entertainment systems in the consumer electronics industry more than 25 years ago.

The RCA phono jack revolutionized consumer electronics; Web Services is revolutionizing enterprise computing.

With the RCA phono jack, stereo systems could be sold as individual components rather than as consolidated, discrete units. This enabled consumers to assemble their preferred components -- turntable, amplifier, 8-track, cassette, etc. -- pursuing what one might call today a "best-of-breed" entertainment strategy. The phono jack eliminated component integration issues.

What the phono-jack revolution demonstrates is how the forces of the marketplace eventually rationalize and clarify technical issues. When people talk about the phono jack today, they don't dissect it by explaining how the electrons move through the gold positive-twisted 18-gauge wire that is surrounded by a rubber sheath, which is, in turn, surrounded by a silver negative-twisted 12-gauge wire. So, eventually, Web Services dialog no longer will be mired in confusing acronym-laden talk of XML, SOAP and SOAP envelopes. In time, discussing Web Services will focus on how the highest quality systems can be linked in the easiest ways possible.
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