Porcess Portals

Bill Burnham discusses Super Services, Process ortals and the road to Composite Applications:

In recognition of both the increasing number of web services and the increasing complexity of linking them together, a new crop of start-ups has emerged including such companies as eSigma, Bindingpoint, Xmethods, and Strike Iron. Initially these start-ups appear to have the rather mundane goal of creating directories of publicly available web services or even libraries of proprietary web services (such as Strike Iron and Xignite have done), but dig a bit deeper and you realize that their ambitions may extend much further.

Take eSigma for example. I had the opportunity to chat with its founder, Troy Haaland, the other day. As Troy explained, the simple portal-like interface of eSigma actually hides an increasingly complex infrastructure. Right now, at the core of this infrastructure is a fully functioning UDDI directory. All of the services you can browse via the portal are actually formally registered in the UDDI directory making them programmatically discoverable. The goal is to link this directory core to a higher level process management capability via a BPEL-based visual authoring/scripting platform. Not only would such a platform allow enterprising developers to easily create and, theoretically re-sell, their own super services, but more importantly it would allow enterprises to create composite applications that exist solely in the cloud. Such cloud based composite applications could then be used a back-bone of inter-enterprise applications.

In this way, what appear at first to be simple directories may ultimately be transformed into Process Portals, or sites that not only centralize web services meta-data, but host a set of custom-designed super-services and composite applications as well as the visual authoring tools needed to create them.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.