Open standards

I’m quite impressed with the current drive for and adoption of open technology standards in business. Open standards include (but are not limited to) UML, WSDL, HTML etc.

Open standards demonstrate forward thinking in systems architectural design that is attempting to prevent long term vendor lock in e.g. ‘WSDL first’ Web Services development decouples the process of defining a web service from its actual technology implementation. This provides future proofing and leaves the business free to change the underlying implementation without having to modify the process of defining web services.

The ‘WSDL first’ approach to Web Services development is likely to be seen in large scale Service Oriented Architectures (SOA’s) where the investment is significant but changing paradigms require some ability to change e.g. the concept of ‘Cloud computing’ is approaching and business may want to migrate services onto this scalable platform. A ‘WSDL first’ strategy keeps the options open as to which cloud platform is adopted because the implementation technology is less of a consideration than choosing the service provider. Existing WSDL and the process for producing it can be applied to generating new services for the cloud that are compatible with current clients that consume the services.

Open Standards are not the same as Open source. Think of open standards like a computers hard drive. A hard drive can be swapped because its interface is an open standard. It is optional for the component parts in an open system to be open source.

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