Our sincere thanks to Jay Zimmerman and the NFJS tour. The NFJS 2007 tour will start up again in March, and St. Louis will play host to this excellent tour on the third weekend in March (March 16–18). A free pass to the symposium as well as a copy of the NFJS book were raffled off yesterday.
After discussing the meaning of various TLAs such as SOA using Wikipedia as a guide, Scott presented the fundamentals of several popular ways of making and using web services.
Scott emphasized the importance of the language/vendor/platform neutrality as the most important characteristics of web services. He defined web services as "Make a request on port 80, get XML back. Oh, wait, ... but you get the idea." He also described the current popularity of web services as a "perfect storm" of ideas.
He then went on to explain in detail some of the specific technologies:
Scott mentioned that Yahoo! is JSON enabling most of their web services.
In a talk like this where I've heard some of the things before while other things are new to me, I tend to focus my attention to the new things. Here's some of the things that got my attention:
There are popular REST. And there are pure REST. The Servlet API gives you REST.
Apache HttpClient is all you need to access REST web services.
Use a proxy on the server side to access web services on other servers. It can be done in five lines of JSP.
Another theme that crawled into the talk is Groovy. Maybe it's because we just had a Grails talk by Jeff Brown last month. Maybe it's because Scott is the force behind aboutGroovy.org. Maybe it's because Groovy just had a 1.0 release and the NFJS (and its parent organization) sponsored the final push. Somehow the "2007 is going to be a break out year for Groovy" idea took root in my brain.
Off the talk, here's some of the things we chatted about:
Scott worked on a product that had 100,000 lines of Groovy code, and they are very happy with the language.
Many people are taking notes of JSON at this moment. I joked that JSON is going to gain a set of WS-JSON-* specifications.
I got to meet Scott Delap, currently the Java editor for InfoQ and also a fellow St. Louisian. And I didn't get a chance to say "InfoQ rocks" to him. Well, there is always next time.