Web Services Come of Age
For years I've reacted to the hype surrounding web services with skepticism. I found SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI to be too complex and brittle for wide deployment, and I also wondered what types of services could be better provided over the web rather than locally. A new excellent developer site, Stack Overflow, answers both of my concerns.
Stack Overflow uses web services for three aspects of its operation:
- reCAPTCHA to avoid spam robots,
- OpenID for user identification, and
- gravatar to obtain user avatars.
On the technical side all three services are not
based on SOAP protocols;
they all use simple REST-style HTTP requests.
For instance, obtaining a gravatar JPEG file is a simple matter of
appending the email's MD5 to the URL
So on the technical side of the web services argument I feel vindicated:
the winner is simplicity.