Omri Gazitt presumably couldn’t find sleep last Friday night, so he wrote a well thought-out blog post instead. Well worth the read. His view on this is both broad and practical. There is enough in this post to, once again, take me within inches of trying WCF. But the fact that for all practical purposes the resulting code can only be deployed on Windows stops me from making this investment.
And since he still couldn’t sleep he penned another entry shortly after. That one is good but a bit less convincing. Frankly, I don’t think the technical differences between Java/C# and “dynamic languages” have much to do with the fact that stubs hurt you more often than not when developing code to process XML messages. With a sentence like “in a typed language, the conventional wisdom is that generating a proxy for me based on some kind of description of the service will make it easier for me to call that service using my familiar language semantics” Omri takes pain to avoid saying whether he agrees with this view. But if he doesn’t (and I don’t think he does), you’d think that he’d be in a pretty good position (at least on the .NET side) to change the fact that, as he says “the way WSDL and XSD are used in platforms like J2EE and .NET tends to push you towards RPC”…
I haven’t used .NET since writing C# code back when HP was selling the Bluestone J2EE server and I was in charge of Web services interoperability, so I have limited expertise there. But Java has the exact same problem with its traditional focus on RPC (just ask Steve). I am currently writing a prototype in Java for the CMDB Federation specification that is still at an early stage. All based on directly processing the XML (mostly through a bunch of XPath queries) and it makes it a breeze to evolve as the draft spec changes. Thank you XOM (and soon Nux).
I very much agree with the point Omri is making (that relying on metadata to add complexity in order to remove it) is an issue, but it’s not just for dynamic languages.