Keeping Web services simple

Many of the standards are still being ironed out, and customers may not be taking full advantage of the technology, but experts say Web services is nonetheless becoming a quiet but important player in the IT scene.

According to IDC Canada Ltd, the bulk of projects in Canada are made up of simple and narrowly defined integration initiatives, or “projects that aren’t relying on someone outside the firewall,” said Warren Shiau, Toronto-based software analyst at IDC.

The firm divides Web services projects into three tiers, the first being focused on intranets. Approximately one-quarter of Canadian Web services users are working in this stage. The second tier comprises projects that are deployed over an extranet. Another quarter of Canadian Web services users have such projects under “consideration.” The third tier comprises projects focused on the Internet, or the full scope of Web services.

But it’s in this area that the number of projects drops off steeply.

Toufic Boubez, co-author of the UDDI API specification and now Chief Technology Officer of Layer 7 Technologies in Vancouver, said people are waiting for some standards issues and questions over security to be resolved.

But the latter point, Boubez said, is well on its way to resolution. In fact, he said he helped launch Layer 7 last summer in part to address the security concern. Layer 7 is about to launch Trust Foundation, a solution that helps developers design and manage security between shared services and their authorized users. It also manages user credentials, security keys and access rules.

However, Shiau said standards bodies, such as the Web Service Interoperability organization and the World Wide Web Consortium, must continue to develop and refine to make Web services more attractive.