Does .NET Equal Web Services?

One of the key elements of Microsoft Corp.’s NET platform is not individual technologies like C# and SOAP, but the new paradigm for development encapsulated in the term “Web services.”

Microsoft is pushing the new model in which a developer writing a new application can create a pointer to an existing service, written by someone else, on the Web. When the application runs, it uses the pre-existing service to handle a function in the application.

Divisions in the industry over whether this model will be adopted emerged during a roundtable discussion at Microsoft TechEd 2001 in July sponsored by ComponentSource. Analyst Mark Driver of Gartner Inc. says such code sharing among enterprise developers will occur and must occur.“The whole point about Web services is the standardization and the commoditization of the technology that we use to communicate from enterprise to enterprise can fundamentally lower barriers to entry and create a newer network model,” Driver said.

Panelist Roger Sessions, CEO of ObjectWatch Inc., strongly disagreed. “The idea that Web services and the .NET platform are this very tight coupling is an unfortunate artifact of the way Microsoft has been overly focused on Web services,” Sessions said.

Most companies have much more serious problems interoperating with their own technologies inside the firewall than they do interoperating with other companies’ technologies, Sessions believes. Microsoft’s .NET presents a feasible means for addressing those problems, he adds.

“I would be very, very surprised if in five years anything other than a small percentage of the usage of Web services is going outside the firewall,” Sessions said.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.