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Gartner Says Web Services Coming Soon

The way businesses and consumers use software will change dramatically as component-based Web services start to become available in the coming months and years. If you have any doubt just ask Microsoft and Sun.

We won't have to wait long to feel the impact of Web services, predicts Gartner. The Stamford, Conn.-based market research company reports Web services will likely to be hottest trend of 2001 and 2002.

According to Gartner, Web services are still an underestimated technology. But by 2005, IT development projects that use Web services will enjoy a 30 percent increase in efficiency.

"Businesses should not wait for the perfect implementation of Web services, but rather stumble as closely as they can in the right direction," said Whit Andrews, research director for Gartner. "Immediate benefits will accrue through improved development practices, less-complex integration projects and changes in the fashions of development strategy."

According to Gartner, businesses should commence pilot projects using Web services standards and deployment models no later than the second half of 2002.

Web services allow applications to communicate with each other, share data and invoke each other using the Internet. Standard specifications for Web services building blocks such as XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) provide a common denominator that platforms such as Microsoft's .Net and Sun's J2EE technologies can use to communicate with each other.

According to Gartner, more than 40 percent of enterprises' first experience with the technology will be an internal deployment of a Web services-enabled architecture. Almost without anyone recognizing it, Gartner says, applications will move from a code-and-recode model to one of connect, disconnect and reconnect dynamically.

"Setbacks should be presumed, particularly in vendor interoperability conflicts, but ensuing layers of metadata and ad-hoc collaboration at low levels should ensure 'good enough' solutions," said Daryl Plummer, group vice president and research group director for Gartner.

Due do their ready-made network of authentication and reputation systems, the financial services industry will be early adopter of Web services, according to Gartner. Other industries that will make the move to Web services early on are transportation, energy, high-tech and small businesses that have little or no investment in installed software.

The importance of Web services is a topic at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo conference, which is being held this week in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.