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IBM, MS, Sun Promote Web Services Specs

By Jay Lyman
Aug 11, 2004 12:53 PM PT

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

IBM, MS, Sun Promote Web Services Specs

The companies said the spec will allow organizations to build Web services applications by defining a standard mechanism for exchanging 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 a Web services network, developers are able to simplify Web services communication and development and avoid the need to develop costly, ad hoc solutions that are often difficult to interoperate across platforms."

The spec represents one of the foundational components to reliable and interoperable 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 key areas.

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 from standards, so it's really an ongoing march. You never really reach the destination, but you get closer," Gardner told TechNewsWorld.

Gardner added that choreography and the ability to assemble services into a business process, workflow or aggregated interface represents the next 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 a role in Sun's signing onto the WS-Addressing spec -- despite previously promoting its own, separate Web services specification -- Sun had little choice, 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 in peoples' minds."

Sholler added that while all of the industry players' support is important, 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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