The Watercooler
Thoughts on engineering and the working life.

Web Services, XMLRPC

By Hoang Do
Thursday, January 31, 2002

There has been quite a bit of talk regarding web services as of late.  In particular, Microsoft's .NET initiative chooses to claim web services as it new reason for being.  It proposes that each corporation can expose a set of services through XML handles or methods.  Although the technical discussion can feel quite compelling, the list of live concrete examples (of how these new technologies could be used) can be quite shallow.  When pushed, proponents would bring up the stock quotes example.   Quote sites would export and XML method allowing various clients to obtain live quotes with ease.   But then how many ways of getting a stock quote would anyone ever need?  Then there's UPS and Fedex with their live tracking but it also has been implemented.

In the process of doing some research about the Blogging phenomenon, I have come across XMLRPC.  This XML method allows a blogging host to receive blogging information from any number of clients speaking XMLRPC.  Since there already exists a large community of bloggers out there, I could immediately see how useful and important this API would be.  In this particular example, the XML web service is useful and important mainly because it is driven by the need of the community of bloggers.  In pushing webservices as the ultimate future of computing, aren't we making the mistake of putting the cart before the horse again?