FirstClassObjectsOnTheWeb

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CollaborativeWebObjects

Given the explosion of XML on the web and the rapid adoption of web services architectures (including UDDI and WSDL support) for enterprise services it is safe to assume true web object infrastructures are on the horizon. My customers (I moved from academia / NJIT last year) are asking for help in building their Web Object Architectures. It seems to me there service gaps that need to be filled. My student Jessica, planning a masters project, (I am still doing research with NJIT), has also hit numerous dead ends identifying services managing objects on the web.

Having true, "touchable" objects on the web is a worthy ambition. I feel strongly that it is within the scope of the w3c to promote standards in this area. J2EE and .NET have come together in the web services arena, but there is still a void in standard object services on the web which needs to be filled.

Object services should address:

  • instantiation and naming
  • locations, copy control, caching and mobility
  • reference management and garbage collection
  • metadata management
  • access control
  • object and object class versioning and update control
  • introspection
  • transaction control
  • event (and fault) monitoring
  • security
  • licensing

URN services could be an umbrella for these services, but I have found almost nothing on URN services. UDI and WSDL provide a good services model, but only address web services, not web objects. They do provide a domain where standard web object services might be defined.

CORBA represents a rich Object functionality set which is thoughtfully designed and robust. Furthermore, CORBA interfaces can readily be expressed in SOAP/UDDI/WSDL. It is a source of IDL we can use as long as we are carefull not to repeat its mistakes.

If we were to add object services as HTTP-NG was considering at one time in the HTTP layer we would be increasing web complexity. Instead adding object services as standard Web Services accessible using XML/SOAP we are not increasing the complexity of the web itself. Third, we can only provide standards to allow Web Object environments to collaborate, we are not forcing them actually utilize or obey the functionality in a particular way. Each Object can control it's own management by the by the Object services it employs, if any, and we would want the object user to be able to employ local cooperating object management services for arbitrary Web Objects as well. Integration of certain services, such as access control, with the web server is highly desirable, but this not difficult where enterprise services such as LDAP are already in use. The use of CORBA as a model would be especially convenient for access to CORBA based objects the web.

In addition to CORBA, we can borrow interfaces for relevant services from J2EE (JNDI, JINI, JMX(http://jboss.org) etc.) expressed as XML/SOAP, and perhaps a subset of the Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM, http://www.omg.org/technology/cwm/index.htm ) may be useful as well as UDDI and WSDL applied to objects rather than services. For certain services such as mobility we might borrow interfaces from leading research such as MobileRMI etc. at http://cui.unige.ch/~ecoopws/ws00/index.html


See http://Xanthus.net/WebServices (HTML) http://www.xanthus.net/WebServices/WebObjectArchitecture.ppt (Powerpoint)

Am I missing something? Are these issues addressed somewhere?

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