Interoperability Isn't Spelled 'XML': Page 2

Datamation guest columnist John Lewis says a recent 'executive email' from Bill Gates indicates that, when it comes to software interoperability, the Microsoft chairman is living in the past.
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Agreeing on a language for describing data is no more (actually much less) than agreeing to use a programming language, such as C++. Agreeing on data structures (perhaps using schemas) is slightly more useful. Using these structures to list the operations that are available (perhaps using WSDL) is a bit more useful still. But all this is still well short of defining the behaviour of those operations; and that is still well short of a defining a protocol.

Microsoft's corporate customers have been through years of spending money on a wave of EAI (Enterprise Application Integration). Now they are being led into the next wave with the ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) based on the grandly named SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). No doubt, there will be more in this wave ... and more waves.

Yet, at the same time, Microsoft customers see extremely large global systems (like the Internet, television systems, music systems, telephone systems, etc.) all interoperating reasonably happily and working well most of the time. Along the way, each of these systems (except, so far, the Internet) has managed a migration across at least one significant step in underlying technology. It does not take much of a mind-stretch to think (as above): How hard can this really be?!

Corporate customers don't need Gates telling them that interoperability is important and that another language (eXtensible Markup Language) has come along and will solve all their problems.

Bill Gates needs to get out more!

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