IBM to sharpen Web services toolkit

IBM on Wednesday is expected to roll out a spruced-up version of its WebSphere Software Developer Toolkit for Web Services that contains a UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) repository, the latest APIs for XML, and a built-in database upon which developers can host applications and Web services.

One aim of this latest version, which is a follow-up to IBM's first Web services toolkit just more than a year ago, is to hasten the adoption of Java-based Web services among developers in both the Windows and Linux communities.

"We think this release can facilitate the inherent nature of Java being all about Web services," said Scott Hebner, director of marketing for IBM's WebSphere Software Platform in Somers, N.Y. "Our belief is all Java developers over time will inherently begin using Web services just as they inherently use XML now. We see it as a fait accomplit."

The new version weaves together both tools and core runtime infrastructure that most developers need to design, build, and test Java-based Web services, said Hebner. The resulting services can be deployed to any open Web services platform, he said.

"What we think is nice about this is the database, which makes it more of a complete platform. So when you build an application or Web service, it will be much easier to move it to a production-level platform like WebSphere or any other open environment," Hebner said.

In related news IBM will announce on Wednesday that it is contributing two Web services technologies to the Apache Software Foundation in hopes of advancing the adoption of Web services in the open-source world.

The first is called the WSIF (Web Services Invocation Framework), a technology for invoking services that are compliant with the WSDL (Web Services Description Language) across a number of different network protocols including SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), JMS, and RMI (Remote Methods and Invocation).

The second is called the WSIL4J (Web Service Inspection Language for Java), which will allow Java programmers to both access and process Web Services Inspection Language documents on a Web site.

Co-developed by IBM and Microsoft, the WS-Inspection specification defines how an application can examine a Web site for those Web services that are available. It is intended to be a complement to UDDI global directory technology by helping discover services on Web sites that are not listed in the UDDI registries.

"These contributions should reinforce the message that we want to continue to innovate with Microsoft on standards, but as soon as we have the technology built we then donate them to open-source organizations. This has been our pattern with things like Eclipse, Apache, and the SOAP and XML parsers," Hebner said.

While he declined to say specifically when, Hebner said future versions of the Web services toolkit will integrate new Web services features and functions that support the WS-I's (Web Services Interoperability Organization's) upcoming reference profiles and scenarios.

WSIF and WSIL4J have both been open-sourced through the Apache Software License. Both technologies can be downloaded at http://xml.apache.org.axis.

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