W3C to ponder Web services choreography

The World Wide Web Consortium on Tuesday agreed to form a working group to draft an industry-wide recommendation on implementing Web services choreography, to enable Web services to better interact with each other for more automated transactions.

The Web Services Choreography Working Group, which will be co-chaired by Oracle's Martin Chapman and Enigmatec's Steven Ross-Talbot, at this juncture will consider two choreography proposals submitted to W3C, including Hewlett-Packard's Web Services Conversation Language (WSCL) and Sun Microsystems' Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI). The WC3 effort is to be built on WSDL 1.2, according to W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly.

But a rival choreography proposal by Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems, called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), is not being considered by W3C because it has not been submitted to W3C and lacks a royalty-free condition of its use, Daly said. This condition, required by W3C, means that authors of the proposal could not collect fees for use of the technology as a W3C recommendation.

"It's questionable whether we could even use [BPEL4WS]," Daly said. "We're hoping that the owners of the document will make it available."

She noted that the three companies that authored the document all are active in the W3C.

IBM and BEA have pledged a royalty-free stance on BPEL4WS, but Microsoft has not made any public statement. IBM's Bob Sutor, director of Web services technology at the company, said last week that BPEL4WS would be submitted to a standards body within one to two months.

The W3C choreography working group will have a two-year charter to develop its recommendation, Daly said. "We'd be happy to have any feedback into this working group," she said.

The charter states: "Some observers predict that if no steps are taken to develop a choreography specification in a vendor-neutral forum, the Web services marketplace may be divided into a number of non-interoperable sub-networks. A vendor-neutral choreography specification which commands consensus and wide support, on the other hand, can make it much easier and cheaper to create composite Web services which integrate services from multiple vendors."

Deliverables of the working group include a requirements document for choreography, usage scenarios, specifications of choreography languages, and an XML Schema as well as a test suite.

The multitude of choreography specifications for Web services prompted Oracle last year to ask the W3C to consider forming a committee to ponder choreography.

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