Day: October 11, 2002

  • Bloggers and Observations

    I met several fellow bloggers today.  It was great to finally put a face to many people that I feel like I know personally after reading their blogs for several months.  I don’t think anybody was as I expected them.  Not that I really had any idea about what anybody looked like anyway.

    I also met several people from Groove Experiments, which was excellent also.  I spoke to someone that works at Groove during lunch, and the stuff that is potentially in the pipelines rates high on the COOL-O-METER.

    The overall tone from the speakers at the panel discussion was that web services will soon be a commodity.  It doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be rich and famous from this stuff, but it definately looks like it’s going to creep into our everday lives.  It’ll be just another tool that nobody will think twice about using.  I thought that was interesting.

    The IBM guys and Microsoft guys are doing a pretty good job at poking fun at each other in a lighthearted way without being mean spirited.

    I know now that Sam Ruby is a hardcore geek.  Someone asked him a question, and after getting into an answer, he said, “Can I push that [on the stack] and come back?”

    WSDL (web services description language) seemed to be the buzzword of the day, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing.  WSDL does a lot to make SOAP services available, describing them so they can be used by a client, testing via a web interface, and helping to generate some basic code (stubs) that can be implemented later.

    I loved Peter Drayton’s interpretation of the “/” character.  HTTP:// is translated to HTTP colon bang bang.  It makes for more interesting conversation.

    Steve Loughran also pointed to a whitepaper he wrote, which is available at called “Making Web Services that Work.”  This is definate hotel room reading material.

    I’m having a blast and learning a ton.  I’m sure you’ll hear more from me later.

  • Web Services DevCon Report: Day 1

    Sam Ruby: Interop is All

    Sam started off the day with a great keynote speech.  He noted some problems with SOAP interop from the past, and what everybody is trying to do to fix them.  He noted something quite interesting about web services/network/distributed computing: If you control both ends of the wire, don’t use SOAP.  It’s not exactly efficient, but if interop is what you want, SOAP is for you.

    He also noted a project that he and Mark Pilgrim have been working on recently: an RSS validator written in Python.  He noted that he also will expose a web service for this, and the actual implementation was extrememly simple and compact, and didn’t use a SOAP stack, just kinda picked off the XML that it needed.  I can’t wait to find out more about this.

    Glen Daniels: Apache Axis

    Good stuff.  It was an overview of Axis, Apache’s SOAP stack, without being preachy.  He works for Macromedia, but is allowed to work on Axis because it is incorporated in Macromedia’s JRun.  He touched on open source briefly without making it a religous thing.

    Peter Drayton: Designing a RESTful SOAP API

    Another blogger in the house, Peter was the first person I’ve ever heard a logical explination of REST from.  Aparently it’s the way that web app guys do things.  I’ve been trying to figure that out forever.  He also noted the differences between SOAP and REST without making it a Mac vs. PC or Windows vs. Linux thing, which I think is amazing.

    Steve Loughran: When Web Services Go Bad

    Steve works for HP, and it showed by his slides, which looked like an HP inkjet cartridge box.  Don’t let that fool you, he had one of the best presentations of the day.  He gave a talk about deploying a real-world web service using XML-RPC (something that’s a bit overlooked nowadays, IMHO).  He noted that coding the web service side can sometimes be easy, but sometimes the code and platform that you are given (and told that works) can cause you more headaches that your own stuff.  He doesn’t like anyone in operations, because it seems that they’ve made his life fairly misable at times.  I wouldn’t mind hearing him speak again sometime.

    Noah Mendelsohn: W3C XML Schema

    A good overview of XML Schema and XML Schema Documents (XSD) in the context of web services.  He also gave an overview of why some of the things are as they are with Schemas.

    Scott Seeley: Inheritance

    A good tutorial on how to expose multiple services using base classes and derived classes in .NET (and a little in Java), which was interesting coming from a Microsoft guy.  His talk was a little heavy on the code, but I don’t know of any other way to express the stuff he needed to without it.

    Dr. Aleskey Nudelman: Web Services in the Doctor’s Office

    I wasn’t particularly thrilled by this talk, I’m not sure if it was because it was just before lunch, or if I just wasn’t interested in it.  I do know that the medical industry has some crappy protocols and fears change.

    Chris Dix: XSLT, .NET and Web Services

    Chris is a sick puppy.  He’s implemented a web service that only uses .NET for input and output, all of the transformations and stuff are done in XSLT.  It’s a great proof of concept, but I’m not sure how useful it is.  He did mose of this on his own time, and it looks like he put a lot of work in it.  It’s impressive getting XSLT to do the things he has.  Props.

    There was also a discussion panel that was great, but I’ll have to get into that later.  I need to get this posted before my time runs out.  Much more later, and it was great to meet all the bloggers and other pople I’ve met today.