Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Are Web Services Distributed Objects?

David Orchard wrote an interesting note comparing web services to distributed objects on his blog. Check out the detail on his site or at webservices.org. His summary is:

I've shown that some pretty important technical facets - extensibility, versioning, state, verb re-usability, sychronicity - where Web services aren't that different from distributed objects. There is an issue that the bulk of Web services can't take advantage of Web infrastructure. Sure, Web services uses XML with Namespaces and that buys a lot for interoperability. The knowledge of the network is an important differentiator between Web services and distributed objects.

The challenge for anybody to prove that Web services = or != distributed objects is to quantify the differences or similarities in actual architecture terms - like identity, state, lifecycle, verbs, synch/asynch, message exchange patterns. Show how Web services are more or less brittle than distributed object technology at a technical level. Not just "Oh, Web services are SOA and distributed objects are objects and we all know services are better than objects." That's yucky thinking.

Web services are pretty close to distributed objects at a technical level but Web services != distributed objects at political level because we roughly have all the big vendors working together. It would be nice if the distributed object folks wanted to try some new approaches (hey, URIs!) but we'll get Web services to work technically and politically because the technical differences are the important ones (remote knowledge) and the politics are better.


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