Bosworth: Web services standards efforts controlled

Paul Krill ist Redakteur unserer US-Schwesterpublikation InfoWorld.

Former BEA Systems executive Adam Bosworth on Thursday criticized what he called the control of Web services standards development by companies such as IBM and Microsoft, who collaborated with BEA on these standards during Bosworth"s tenure.

Control of the standards by the large vendors has prevented Web services from enabling a Web that is far more able to mine, filter, and transform data than what is happening now, according to Bosworth, who is now a vice president at Google. He made his comments while serving as a keynote speaker at the MySQL Users Conference 2005 show in Santa Clara, California.

Vendors such as IBM and Microsoft, in proposing the standards, were big, institutionalized companies trying to protect themselves, Bosworth said. "They were deliberately, in my opinion, making something hard," he said, citing specifications such as Web Services ReliableMessaging.

Interviewed following his presentation, Bosworth acknowledged BEA"s participation with IBM and Microsoft in Web services specifications development and standardization while he was still a BEA employee.

"Yes, it was very frustrating," Bosworth said. He left the company last year and had served as chief architect and senior vice president of Advanced Development.

"Well, I was doing my best to try to make [Web services] easier and simpler and some of it got easier and some of it got simpler," Bosworth said. "There"s some good work that came out of those guys working together. The Web Services Addressing [WS-Addressing] stuff is easier and simpler than some of the stuff that preceded it. But it"s still hard."

In addition to WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-Addressing, the three vendors have participated in development of Web services specifications such as WS-Eventing, BPEL (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services), WS-Transaction, and WS-Coordination.

Officials at IBM and Microsoft could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

During his presentation and afterward, Bosworth laid out his vision for a Web that is more focused on organizing data than just searching for content. "We need something that makes it easy to scale massively and linearly across the entire Web," Bosworth said.

"We"re searching lots of stuff but we search it as content. We don"t search it as data," Bosworth said. Users need to be able to access more than just keywords, he added.

Bosworth emphasized the promise of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom data syndication technologies for finding data. He also endorsed the concept of tagging. "Tags are sloppy and informal but it works better than anything else out there," Bosworth said.

If users such as MySQL database experts had a source of information where they could take all the world"s data on the Web and start running their own UI and queries, they would be able to do things that Google could never imagine, Bosworth said.

Technologies such as XML Query and the Semantic Web, like Web services, have not fulfilled the data-searching vision, he said. XML Query took too long to create and it did not resemble the Web. The Semantic Web"s reliance on ontologies is problematic, according to Bosworth. "I don"t understand top-down ontologies," which require that everyone agrees on a schema, he said.

"RDF actually has failed," Bosworth said. RDF (Resource Description Framework) is a technology for processing metadata on the Semantic Web.