Paul Krill of InfoWorld posted a story summarizing much of the interop action at J1. The news item was headlined "Interop frustrations aired". It sounds kinda negative, and I can understand that, but the vibe I got from the audience was mostly positive. I have an entirely different perspective on the discussion that occurred at these panel sessions.

A number of people at Microsoft, including Kevin Wittkopf, Kevin Hammond, Simon Guest, me, and others, have been working through real Java-to-.NET webservices interop challenges for years now, and publishing guidance, advice, tutorials, whitepapers, samples, and demos. I think we have a pretty good collection of best practices guidance, at this point. Much of it was summarized in the webcasts that went live in January 2005, but there's tons of info.

And here's the thing ....The issues aired in these sessions are not new. Clearly they are new to the people asking about them, but this is ground that has already been covered.   Check the webservices newsgroups on MSDN, check the Apache AXIS user's group, the AXIS wiki, or any number of other sources.   People have confronted these issues and surmounted them.  And the how-to info is all covered in the advice we've already delivered. The challenge then, is to get the existing practical guidance out to people who need it. After one of the panel discussions, one conference attendee came up and told me, "Yep, in our company we have those .NET developers who cannot see beyond the wall. They are not aware of other apps or systems beyond the .NET world they devleop in." That captures it perfectly. This is not a problem of technology, or guidance, or documentation, or specs.

The big need is training and cross-organizational communication. These are not new issues, though. No revelations here. People have been saying it for a long time - to deploy and exploit webservices-powered SOA, organizations may need to develop new competency in cross-domain communication and collaboration.