For Oracle, Web Services Is Old Hat

For Oracle Corp., Web services means configuring its software to support the emerging standards and protocols that go along with this new technological innovation. So, when developers build a solution that leverages Oracle9i, for example, they’re able to take advantage of opportunities on the Web services front as well.

Oracle has thrown a lot of weight behind XML and J2EE, and it continues to add support for SOAP and WSDL. But according to John Magee, senior director of Oracle9i marketing, UDDI is another issue.

“UDDI is not strictly required for doing Web services,” says Magee. “It’s a sort of facilitating technology. The foundation of [UDDI] is HTTP, the same technology that we use for users of the World Wide Web.”

The primary function of UDDI is to allow potential users or developers of Web services to locate and define different types of Web services. Magee’s argument, while not shared by all, is that UDDI is unnecessary and that the location and definition of Web services could be handled in the same way users of the Web locate and define Web sites.

However, Magee does not believe Web services should simply be looked at as Web-enabled applications. “There’s a trend in large companies to bring Web access to existing applications, but what we’re really talking about is accessing functionality from other programs that lies behind an application using Internet protocols.”

For example, a currency conversion feature on a Web site would be a Web service. “The next evolution is…let’s call that service from a program that we’re writing because that program needs a conversion function,” says Magee. “What’s revolutionary is that this can happen over Internet protocols.” And what allows such a scenario to be played out is that the service—a currency conversion feature in this case—adheres to the XML and SOAP and WSDL standards.

Essentially, the concept of joining applications over an IP network is the driving force behind Web services. “Companies like Oracle have been doing a lot of this Internet integration work already through exchanges and supply chains” says Magee. So, from Oracle’s perspective, Web services are really just the latest model for integrating applications over the Internet.

Oracle’s support for Web services is closely tied to J2EE. J2EE is the development platform Oracle’s 9i Application Server works best with, which in turn makes it the ideal platform for building Web services in an Oracle environment. Using just J2EE for development and XML for expression, enterprises can start building Web services. “We already have a lot of support for XML in the J2EE environment in general and in Oracle’s software in particular,” says Magee. “What’s still evolving [however], are the definitions of some of these SOAP descriptors and so on, but companies that want to move ahead are able to do so.”

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.