Take Microsoft's Invitation Seriously
Monday, September 27, 1999 by Dave Winer.
"Why was Microsoft flying SOAP under the radar? It looked much like a pre-emptive strike against the established distributed object interaction standards of CORBA, a vendor-neutral option currently favored 2-to-1 over Microsoft's COM, according to Forrester Research."
This article is key. I'm glad they're tuning into the significance of SOAP, but it doesn't have to be a Microsoft-vs-Everyone thing. MS anticipated this problem, I think that's why UserLand and Developmentor are so closely in the loop. They didn't have to include us in the process, and of course PC WEEK is negating our role, but let's take this opportunity and solve the problem.
First, with all possible humility, if the editors at PC WEEK paid attention to Scripting News and DaveNet, they wouldn't have been blind-sided. The information was out there. Microsoft's involvement was also reported in InfoWorld, last summer.
They should not be allowed to point the accusational finger at Microsoft without getting a clear response. The information was available. A curious analyst or reporter would have read the InfoWorld article, at least, and followed up.
Forrester says people want CORBA, but where is it? It's not baked into Windows or Mac. And that's where the users and content developers are.
And if CORBA is such a strong standard, where are all the CORBA apps? Why do people implement one-off RPCs that are compatible with nothing, when CORBA theoretically offers the opportunity to be higher-level and compatible?
The answer, I believe, is that CORBA is complex and ever-evolving and not widely deployed. A moving target, it doesn't run where the users are or content developers, or on many servers.
I want SOAP to be deployed as widely as possible *before* it gets mired in a standards process. There are only two forks in this road. SOAP could become CORBA, or it could stay simple. It's already simple, so let's go, before it gets complex.
We couldn't have done this work without Microsoft's involvement, few would have paid attention. Now to go the next step, the industry has to take Microsoft's invitation seriously. Take ownership of SOAP, deploy it as-is, and let's get started defining the next-level-up, which is where the interesting stuff happens.