Salesforce.com: WS-* is dead

Today I spoke to Adam Gross, Vice President, Developer Marketing at Salesforce.com. His company has recently announced that during its third quarter, API transactions (driven by web services) surpassed CRM page views on its service for the first time. I asked Gross whether Salesforce.com would move towards the WS-* standards as its evolves its API.

“We’re very big advocates of SOAP and WSDL,” he told me.  ”We’re probably the largest users of SOAP and WSDL in any business anywhere in the world. That said, my sense is that WS-* is dead. There is not a lot happening in WS-* that is being driven by customers and use cases, and there is not a lot that is being informed by what we’ve learned from “Web 2.0″. I question its relevance.”

How then will Salesforce.com solve problems like those which WS-* addresses, such as as reliable messaging? “If any part of WS-* has promise it’s reliable messaging, but I’ve been part of the web services technical community since late 2000. We’ve been talking about reliable messaging standards since then. That’s close to seven years. You have to wonder if the WS-* process is going to reach a meaningful conclusion.

“Instead, we’re going to see more organic innovation and best practices. There is no standard for AJAX. There is no standards body. It’s community-driven rather than vendor-driven, and that’s been very successful. I keep an open mind, but I think that WS-* and the people who are working on it need to start showing their relevance.”

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