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Eeyore's View: What Can You Really Produce with Web Services Today?

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Despite the hype, Andy Longshaw says that Web Services won't save the world — or even rescue most businesses from development doldrums. A lot of work is still in store to move Web Services into the grand vision that many people drool over.
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Before I discuss Web Services in this article, let me explain an important fact about myself. I'm an engineer. My university degree is in engineering and I worked in general engineering roles before settling on computers and software. Someone once observed that engineers are like Eeyore in the story Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore would always think of the downsides of things—for him, the glass was always half-empty. Eeyore is an extreme example, but a certain amount of skepticism—even pessimism—is a good attribute when you're designing bridges and airplanes. Mindless optimism about new products and technologies doesn't (or at least shouldn't) cut much ice in the world of "solid" engineering.

So why is this relevant here? Well, the vendors of various products and technologies will sell you a rosy picture of what you can do with Web Services. I have no vested interest in any product or platform, so I try to take an "engineering view" of things. I've been through the stage of championing technology for technology's sake, and I hope that this fevered state has now passed. If my life, or even just my professional reputation, depended on creating a system based on Web Services, what could I actually depend upon to work?

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