Aaron Skonnard says I am clearly wrong with my demand that one shouldn’t have to look at WSDL/XSD/Policy. Well, at this point in time the tooling makes it indeed difficult to ignore angle brackets. But that’s not a reason to give up. I also find the “it all has to start at the angle bracket” stance overly idealistic.

I can type up an XML Schema in notepad, I can even type up a WSDL in notepad. As much as one would like to have it different, both “skills” are not so common amongst the developer population. I would think that for the majority of ASP.NET Web Services in production today, their developers completely ignored the XSD/WSDL details. But even if that were different: The rubber hits the road when we talk about policy. Can you type up a complete and consistent set of policy assertions for integrity and confidentiality and authentication using Kerberos and vX509 tokens without looking at the spec or a cheat sheet? How about combining that with assertions for WS-AT and WS-RM? As long as we keep the story reduced to XSD and WSDL, dealing with angle brackets might something that someone could reasonably expect from a mortal programmer who has a life. One we take policy into the picture, we better start asking for tools that hide all those details. The interoperability problems of getting secure, reliable and transacted web service work together are far harder than just getting services to talk. That’s part of the contract story, too. Yet, I cannot imagine that anybody would seriously demand that we all sit down and explicitly write these endless sequences of policy assertions and then feed our tools with them. At least I don’t want to do that, but that may just be me getting too old for this stuff.