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BEA Web Services

BEA Web Services

It is the dawn of a new season as BEA WebLogic Developer's Journal moves into its second year. What better way to start the new year than with a focus issue on Web services? And it's not too early to do so; as we move closer to BEA's eWorld 2003 developer conference in March, I'm sure Web services will be a hot topic.

Before drafting this month's editorial, I sat down and really thought about what makes Web services compelling to me. I thought this through in numerous "contexts." The two I put myself into are those of a consumer and an application architect. Our current context affects how we perceive the world around us and, in the case of understanding the usefulness of Web services, what makes Web services compelling to us.

As a consumer, quality of service is number one. Web services for consumers should always be available, should function properly, and should be nonintrusive. With that said, when I am surfing a Web site that integrates with Google's search engine Web Service, I don't care where I'm getting my data from - just find it for me. Find it for me now.

Quality of service is nothing new to the Web. High availability and quick response times of online shopping sites, auctions, and B2B exchanges are necessities, not luxuries. Similar to Web sites, when Web services are unavailable or do not respond, their transparency to the consumer is lost and the quality of service to the consumer declines.

In a nutshell, Web services are compelling to me as a consumer because they function and I don't even know they exist. They run on the same infrastructure that has been maturing for many years - the Internet. They utilize the same protocols and security standards, such as HTTP and SSL, that have been around for years, resulting in seamless, reliable services to consumers.

Adam Bosworth, in his interview with WLDJ (Vol. 1, issue 9), mentioned the quality-of-service characteristics of Web services. They included things like clustering Web services for scalability and fault-tolerance, and queuing service requests to make them more visible, manageable, and transactional. When a Web service's quality of service is high, it is a compelling consumer offering.

Putting myself in another context, that of an application architect, I see Web services as compelling for other reasons. Web services offer the capability to easily integrate disparate information sources across the enterprise, even across enterprises. Web services provide a rich, coarse-grained messaging model for communication. This communication can even be asynchronous to allow long-running business transactions to occur between systems. They also operate over a well-understood protocol (e.g., HTTP and SOAP), and are developed with a well-understood development model, which is important to teams that are already fluent in Web programming.

WebLogic offers a Web services stack that provides high quality of service and ease of integration. BEA Web services are a natural extension of the already reliable, scalable WebLogic Server. They are built using familiar technologies such as Web applications, EJB, and JMS. These technologies make Web services viable for consumers, the enterprise, or B2B.

This month, we have several articles on Web services worth mentioning. First, we have Sean Rhody, editor-in-chief of Web Services Journal as our guest editor. Sean always has his finger on the pulse of Web services. Next, Gary Meyer provides insight into integrating commercial Web services into WebLogic applications, and Steve Buzzard talks about enabling Enterprise Portal integration. Finally, there's a book review on BEA WebLogic Workshop you shouldn't miss.

I hope to see you at the BEA eWorld conference in March. Be sure to attend if you can, and don't hesitate to introduce yourself if we meet in passing! I enjoy meeting WLDJ readers as you always provide good feedback on how to make the magazine the best in the industry.

More Stories By Jason Westra

Jason Westra is the CTO of Verge Technologies Group, Inc. (www.vergecorp.com). Verge is a Boulder, CO based firm specializing in eBusiness solutions with Enterprise JavaBeans.

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