WS-I moves forward on interoperability, SOA

WS-I draft to make Web services easier to implement

Emphasising SOA, the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) is about to publish draft documents on Web services and security, and seeks public feedback.

SOA architects had been awaiting these deliverables, which provided guidance on interoperability for core Web services and business processes in enterprises, WS-I said.

"The Web services specifications and the Web services stack is the underlying technology for SOA," WS-I chairman and SAP vice-president of industry standards, Michael Bechauf, said.

Formed in 2002, WS-I focuses on helping vendors and users implement Web services rather than having users labor with the multitude of specifications. "At the end of the day, the end user really shouldn't care about the underlying specifications," Bechauf said.

WS-I features members such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sun Microsystems.

Working Group Drafts being published include Basic Profile 1.2, Basic Security Profile 1.1, and Reliable Secure Profile 1.0 Usage Scenarios. The draft documents are up for public and member review and are expected to be approved early in 2007.

"The tangible results will be that vendors will actually build solutions according to those profiles," Bechauf said. users would be assured that the systems would work together.

Basic Profile 1.2 is the revision of the Basic Profile 1.1, which offers guidance on basic interoperability of the Web services stack. Version 1.2 incorporates errata and includes requirements pertaining to serialisation of Web services envelopes and their representation in messages from the WS-I Simple SOAP Binding Profile 1.0.

The new profile was constructed mostly using WS-Addressing, which defines a standard mechanism for identifying and exchanging Web services messages between endpoints. Specifications incorporated into Basic Profile 1.2 include Core, SOAP Binding, and WSDL Binding specifications pertinent to WS-Addressing 1.0.

Comments on Basic Profile may be emailed to wsbasic_comment@ws-i.org.

WS-I Basic Profiles made life easier for developers by focusing on what they needed to know to make Web services work, analyst and vice-president and research director at Burton Group, Anne Thomas Manes, said.

"I think the WS-I Basic Profiles are always a good thing because they constrain the specifications, so it gives developers fewer things to worry about," Manes said.

"The main reason that you want profiles is they explain how to use the specifications the right way and ensure that you will get a better chance of achieving interoperability," she said.

Manes acknowledged that the plethora of Web services specifications can cause confusion among developers.

She has counted 52 WS-* (spoken as "ws star") specifications for standardising Web services operations.

"That's enough to make anybody's head spin," Manes said.

WS-I had been providing guidance on Web services specifications to OASIS, which oversaw many of them, Manes said.

"A lot of people think that WS-I hasn't done anything for two years but, in fact, it has," Manes said.

Also on the WS-I docket, the Working Group Draft of Basic Security Profile 1.1 revises the 1.0 version of the document and incorporates errata to data. It profiles WS-Security 1.1 and WS-Security token profiles, including Username, X.500, Kerberos, and SAML (Security Access Markup Language). Feedback on Security Profile 1.1 can be submitted to this e-mail address: wsi_secprofile_comment@lists.ws-i.org.

The Working Group Draft of Reliable Secure Profile 1.0 Usage Scenarios features guidance on use of Reliable Secure Profile. It features specifications such as WS-ReliableMessaging 1.1 and WS-SecureConversation 1.3 as well as WS-I's Basic Profiles and Basic Security Profiles. Feedback on the Usage Scenarios can be emailed to this address: wsi_rsp_comment@lists.ws-i.org.

WS-I documents are accessible at the WS-I website.

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