Viewletpolls: Non-Web Services

The OpenSourcery is trying out Qarbons Viewlet Poll
What Qarbon does for us is make it dead simple to do polling for between $100 – 299 per year. Fill in a form, choose from dozens of poll layouts and you are away to the races – okay you have to move the generated HTML and place it on your site. Once that is done, Viewletpoll delivers a Flash app that takes care of all the polling, display, and keeping of statistics. You go to a page devoted to your ViewletId and change the poll at anytime, get the realtime gathered statistics (fairly detailed), or create a new poll. Very nifty in tests so far(a limited but fairly robust 30-day free trial edition is available). But what makes this really interesting is this is a non-Web Service Web Service.

Non-Web Service Web Service ??

The reason we are calling this a non-Web Service Web Service is because no SOAP, no-user inserted XML nor WSDL nor UDDI is required. Just elementary HTML and essentially that is all. The backend operations are all taken care of at the Qarbons Viewlet server – so thats why it qualifies as a Web Service. Now that server may very well be using SOAP and Web Services; but I suspect not because Macromedia has really bulked up ActionScript and the Flash data processing capabilities.

So for Macromedia, Viewletpolls must be a mixed message. On the one hand it really shows off the versatility and ubiquity of Flash as a Web Service proxy. The Viewlet poll responds to changes with no need for screen refreshes and with good response time. The response uses audio, text and redrawn graphics. Nice touches. Meanwhile the server is maintaining all the poll stats – and as pointed out above, that can be visited at any time by any authorized user.

On the downside, Macromedia must be chagrined that in their Breeze, Central, Flex, Flash Remote endeavours -they did not come up with the idea of Viewletpolls themselves. But give Qarbon credit, this appears to be a well executed business line.

More broadly this addresses the issue of Web Services being too narrowly defined as SOAP, WSDL, and XML-based services (now ask yourself who would want that ?). The reality is that Nexaweb, Laszlo, Droplets, Macromedia and several others are providing right now robust tools for largely SOAP-free Web Services. And and other web-based CRM and ERP service providers are also mixing their Web Service metaphors.

Now we are not against SOAP-based Web Services by any means – they have many natural niches. But we do believe they have been oversold and over-promised for when they would be robust and ready(now ask yourself, what large ISV has ever done or would want to do that?). So what we are asking you to do is to think of Web Services as empowering a much broader toolset than just SOAP, WSDL, and cronies. Or are we going to have to do theGartner – and invent another acronym with its own category and demographics? Say WEEE – Web Enhanced Enabler Environs.

(c)JBSurveyer 2005