IBM, MS, Sun Promote Web Services Specs

A Web services specification moved closer to World Wide Web Consortium(W3C) standard status this week as Microsoft, IBM, BEA, SAP and SunMicrosystems submitted the latest version of the WS-Addressing spec.

The companies said the spec will allow organizations to buildWeb services applications by defining a standard mechanism forexchanging Web services messages among multiple end points.

WS-Addressing is a “foundational component” that is not something users will see, but it will impact their Web experience, said Meta Group vice president Dan Sholler. He called it “yet another building block to build Web services out to [their] full potential.”

Promoting Interoperability

In a statement, the WS-Addressing backers said, “With a standard way to express where a message should be delivered in aWeb services network, developers are able to simplify Web servicescommunication and development and avoid the need to develop costly, adhoc solutions that are often difficult to interoperate acrossplatforms.”

The spec represents one of the foundational components to reliable andinteroperable Web services. It has the backing of Microsoft, IBM and — following its recent truce with Redmond — Sun Microsystems.

Sholler told TechNewsWorld that there is already significant deployment of Web services, with many companies taking base specs such as WS-Addressing and building to their own requirements. He added that the overall status of Web services is advancing, with significant gains in security and other keyareas.

Collaboration of MS, IBM, Sun

Yankee Group senior analyst Dana Gardner said standards,interoperability and adoption of Web services all rely on each other,but standards are most important at this point.

“Web services really depends on interoperability, and that comes fromstandards, so it’s really an ongoing march. You never really reach thedestination, but you get closer,” Gardner told TechNewsWorld.

Gardner added that choreography and the ability to assemble servicesinto a business process, workflow or aggregated interface represents thenext level for Web services.

The WS-Addressing backers called the joint submission of the spec to W3C”a milestone” in collaboration.

Sun Signs On

While its recent end to hostilities with Microsoft may have played arole in Sun’s signing onto the WS-Addressing spec — despite previouslypromoting its own, separate Web services specification — Sun had littlechoice, according to Sholler.

“Sun suffered a bit,” he said. “It continued [to work on another spec]long after the shape of this thing was fairly well established inpeoples’ minds.”

Sholler added that while all of the industry players’ support isimportant, the bulk of the push has come from rivals IBM and Microsoft.

“It’s been clear for some time that [this] collection of [Web] services has been one built out of the IBM-Microsoft relationship,” Sholler said.

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