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It's a Wireless, Wireless World

It's a Wireless, Wireless World

Wireless, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Mention wireless, and you can step back and watch the conversation spin for hours around differing definitions and approaches. In some minds, wireless is all about cell phones, and consequently is a completely consumer-oriented market. To others, wireless includes a much larger host of technologies, including things like wireless networks, PDAs, cell phones, and other embedded or proprietary devices, things like the pad UPS hands you to sign for your delivery. And to some it's a question of consumer versus industrial applications.

Given this diversity within the wireless market itself, it's not surprising that the concept of Web services on wireless is one that can be interpreted in a number of ways. This is especially true in light of the fact that we can't really get one firm definition of what Web services is. If you doubt that, take a look at our Web site and listen to the two panel discussions from Web Services Edge East and West.

So what does wireless mean to Web services, or what does Web services mean to wireless? That also depends largely on the perception of both categories. To Web services, wireless represents a great opportunity for mass marketing of services and the greatest probability of driving widespread consumer adoption of Web services by wrapping them in applications that support PDAs, cell phones, Blackberrys, occasionally connected PCs, and other devices that communicate without wires.

Wireless also represents a cutting-edge area where the deployment of Web services can showcase both the ease of deployment and the viability of platform-independent services. Wireless may be the one particular application of Web services that drives widespread use and adoption at the individual user level.

And to some extent that's important to all of us who see Web services as the hope of people for the next "HTML." While Web services are more complex, they need not baffle the end user, and the ability to craft interesting pieces of code, just like the ability to craft interesting pages, may drive a true revolution in where Web services are positioned. Rick Ross, founder of the Java Lobby ,said it best when he said "Web services should be fun. They should be cool. They should be about being able to do cool things on my PC and sharing them with the world." While I see many obstacles to such a plan, I can't help but applaud that ideal - making Web services so easy my parents could build them.

But what's in it for wireless? What makes Web services interesting to a wireless user? It's that portal into the wide world of applications. The ability to make wireless devices the end user interface to a world of Web applications, all with a simplified interface that can make doing business with a PDA or a lightweight laptop viable, by reducing the data that has to go over the Web. Stripping off the browser, and making whatever application can call a Web service the client, freeing the service developer from worrying about the presentation, and freeing the presentation developer from worrying about business logic.

This month's focus is, obviously enough, on wireless and Web services. I hope you enjoy our coverage of how to mix these two exciting technologies. It's a wireless, wireless world.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

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