This year I will mostly be doing web services!

These words (in homage to the Fast Show) are by way of saying that I, for the bulk of Microsoft’s current financial year (July 2004 to June 2005), will be focusing on web services. This is a really cool and interesting area, and it’s great to see, when talking to architects and developers and designers, most are already familiar with the basics of web services and have started to explore how they can be used. My goal therefore, is to help make that vision real, and so many of my future posts will be on web service related topics. To help kick this off, I would like to signpost a couple of useful resources:


The first is good old MSDN, and in particular, its web services Developer Centre - there is new stuff up there on almost a weekly basis, so keep your eyes on it for new articles. One recent white paper that was posted there is “An Introduction to the Web Services Architecture and Its Specifications” - - a really useful guide for getting an overview of web services, what’s happening with the standards and the future directions. Essential reading.


One 'product' I will be focusing on is Web Services Enhancements (WSE, pronounced wizzy by those in the know),, which is (to quote) “supported add-on to Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework providing developers the latest advanced Web services capabilities to keep pace with the evolving Web services protocol specifications”. If you are looking at developing industrial strength web services, especially those that require security, you should be looking at WSE 2.0. Some of the documentation can be a bit tough going, so check out the articles on WSE 2.0 listed, especially from Aaron Skonnard and Simon Horrell.


The other product I will be looking at is BizTalk Server 2004 - The 2004 version integrates very well with the .NET framework and web services, so I expect many developers to start talking a closer look at BizTalk and what it can do. I should say up front it is a BIG product – I attended a DevelopMentor course on BizTalk to kick-start my learning and found it really useful. I also found David Chappell’s white paper Understanding BizTalk 2004 very interesting and readable.


More info to follow in future blogs . . . .