Oracle calls for Web services unity

Oracle Corp. is looking to get industry consensus on a Web services specification for choreographing interactions in business-to-business transactions, an alternative to the current plethora of proposed specifications devised to meet this aim.

The database vendor wants the World Wide Web Consortium at its meeting in Washington beginning Wednesday to form an industry-wide working group to guide development of standards governing Web services choreography. Under Oracle's plan, the working group will develop a unified choreography language to be based on WSDL.

The proposal is to be made at a meeting of the W3C Web Services Architecture Working Group. Oracle pledges to have support from several other companies.

"We think that we're in a key decision point as to whether Web services activities [should] be carried out in a relatively closed environment with results that may not be freely available to be widely implemented versus being developed in an open forum, with the results being available on a royalty-free basis," said Don Deutsch, Oracle vice president of standards strategy and architecture.

Web services choreography pertains to developing standard XML-based mechanisms for b-to-b collaboration across supply chains on the Internet, according to Oracle. Organizations are afraid that projects started today will need to be significantly reworked if vendors do not reconcile differences, the company said.

A number of choreography-related proposals have been proposed recently, including BPEL4WS (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services), from IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and BEA Systems inc., and Web Service Choreography Interface, from Sun Microsystems Inc. Other proposals include WSCL (Web Services Conversation Language), BPML (Business Process Modeling Language), and ebXML BPSS (Business Process Specification Schema).

Oracle's plan seeks to include deliverables such as a requirements document, usage scenarios and specifications of the choreography language and associated XML Schema and a test suite for interoperability.

"This charter is specifically to get this issue into an open forum, and we believe the W3C is the appropriate forum for this to take place," Deutsch said.

The Web Services Architecture Working Group features participants from vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard Co.

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