Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Where is Microsoft Going with all this Web Service Stuff?

A favorite pasttime of developers is to gather, drink beers, and prognosticate on the future of technology.  This week, technology is whizzing by what most had imagined and being shown at TechEd despite the reported amounts of beer that I have already gotten to read about.

So, where is Microsoft really going with all this XML and web services stuff?  I don’t think anyone could possibly answer that definitively, but you can see quite a few products available that help solve real customer problems today.  And this week, we all get a glimpse to what web services are buying everyone within the next 2 years.  Past 2 years?  Who knows… Indigo might cause some grand revelation that renders many current assumptions false (what if crossing boundaries is not as explicit and expensive as it is today?)

Communication is facilitated through service end points that will one day have Remoting and ASMX as fast as DCOM.  Richard Turner backs up Don’s statement by showing how to position your current technology for the easiest shift to Indigo.  I don’t think there are many that doubt where the communications stack is heading.

While ASMX, Indigo, and WSE steal the show, there are still many developers facing business problems that can’t simply wait for Whidbey.  As developers, we can get stuck focusing on the service end points, but forget about the existing tools we have to solve business problems. You have many of those tools, and this week you will learn about how the tools are continuing to converge to provide team and enterprise collaboration.  This week, you will see the links from Office to WSE, BizTalk to SharePoint, from Visual Studio Tools for Office to the newly announced Visual Studio Team System.  It’s not about the code you write, it’s about the code you don’t write.

Couple WSE, ASMX, and IBF together with BizTalk, SharePoint, and the Office System, and you have the tools to create an incredibly powerful enterprise solution using tools your enterprise likely already has.  Put in Whitehorse, and you now have the tools for managing the deployment of your services.  SQL Server Reporting Services lends a hefty reporting framework to the mix.  And it only gets better now that Microsoft has a modeling tool past Visio.

 I spent quite a large amount of time working with Rational XDE before joining Microsoft, and I can attest to the absolute pain that code and model synchronization brings to the table.  Besides code and model synch capabilities that are just flat out cool, Whitehorse is more than simple class and WSDL design. You will likely hear this week the answer to “is Whitehorse UML?“  Whitehorse is all about Domain Specific Languages.  Listen to what DSL is about and that will give you some ideas about where Visual Studio Team System, particularly Whitehorse, will be heading. 

If I were in San Diego this week instead of helping customers, I would follow WSE, VSTO, Whitehorse, BizTalk, and keep a glancing eye out for SharePoint where I could. Also keep an eye on SQL Server Reporting Services and the XML capabilities of Yukon.  Even SteveB stated in the keynote that XML is the best thing to happen to the industry.

Oh yeah… and do yourself one more favor… learn about ISA Server 2004 and MOM while you have the opportunity to learn from the people who wrote the products. After you are done launching service endpoints around with your cool new tools, you need to secure them and monitor them.  As developers, we forget that someone has to get a handle on the bits that we scatter amongst the dual and quad proc boxes.


Richard Turner: On the Road to Indigo: Prescriptive Guidance for Today’s Technologies.  Set yourself up today for the easiest migration to Indigo in the future.

Aaron Skonnard: TechEd: SO Prescriptive Guidance (Richard Turner).  Aaron’s summary of Richard’s presentation.  Read the above link as well for coverage.

Matt Powell: WSE 2.0 Hands On Labs.  The WSE 2.0 HOLs from TechEd are available in the articles section of the WSE page.

Christoph Schittko:  Tracing Capabilities in WSE2.  Instead of hacking the port number in the endpoint URL, use WSE 2.0’s trace facilities.

Scott Hanselman: Keynote and the Wizzy Release and more innovation

Benjamin Mitchell: Questions from Don and Doug’s Service Orientation presentation

Steele Price: A Keynote with a punch at the end.  I am really excited about the Information Bridge Framework (IBF).  It takes web services and the Office XML story to a new level.

Keith Short: Whitehorse is Part of the Newly Announced Visual Studio 2005 Studio Team System! 

Alan Cameron Wills: Links about Domain Specific Languages