The Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) is taking what recently appointed chairman Michael Bechauf said is "a major step forward for WS-I" and the adoption of Web services in enterprise-class applications, with yesterday's announcement of two new working group charters, one to develop Basic Profile 1.2 and 2.0, and the other to develop the Reliable Secure Profile (RSP) 1.0.
Reliability and security are going to be key to the adoption of Web services for enterprise-class applications, said Bechauf, who is vice president of industry standards at SAP AG. But reaching industry consensus on these topics has taken time, he said.
"For Web services, the ability to serve enterprise-class applications really hinged on the availability of security — WS-I has been working on the Basic Security Profile and expects to finish soon — and more reliability," Bechauf said. "The WS-I membership has articulated adamantly about how important reliability and security are for the Web services stack, which is the reason why it took up to this point to get out with the profiles."
But that is the nature of WS-I, he said. A global industry organization, the WS-I's charter is to promote consistent and reliable interoperability among Web services across platforms, applications and programming languages. Key WS-I deliverables include Profiles, Sample Applications, and Testing Tools. "The purpose of the organization is to represent a broad consensus throughout the industry," Bechauf said. "The organization doesn't create standards; it profiles them. It took a while to get the underlying specs to a certain level of maturity and the vendors to a point of clearer decisions and commitments made for product support."
"For a while, the WS-I was being quiet," said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink LLC in Waltham, Mass. "Now they've found a role as being a mediator of dialogue between end users and vendors."
In a nutshell, according to Bechauf, the WS-I's job is to remove ambiguity once the specs are mature.
To date, the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 and 1.1 have been very influential, according to Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director at Burton Group, Midvale, Utah. "One of the basic recommendations I make to everyone is to follow the WS-I Basic Profile. No matter how conscientious you are when writing a spec, there will still be issues left to interpretation. [The Basic Profile] is as important to the basics of making these systems work as the SOAP and WSDL specs."
Schmelzer added, "The Basic Profile is a starting point, a line in the sand. It guarantees that any two products that are compliant with it will be able to communicate." He compared standards bodies such as the W3C and OASIS to the legislative branch of the government that writes the laws and the WS-I to the judicial branch that interprets the laws.
The first of the WS-I charters announced yesterday is a revision to the existing WS-I Basic Profile Working Group charter, which will result in the development of the Basic Profile 1.2 and the Basic Profile 2.0.
The Basic Profile 1.2 will incorporate asynchronous messaging and will also consider SOAP 1.1 with Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM) and XML-binary Optimized Packaging (XOP). It will incorporate W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 Core, W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 SOAP Binding, W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 WSDL Binding, and SOAP 1.1 Binding for MTOM 1.0.
The decision to develop Basic Profile 1.2 rather than going straight to the 2.0 version is intended to solve today's problems, Bechauf said. Industry groups require enterprise-class applications, he said. "For example, RosettaNet [an industry consortium] clearly has articulated the need for reliability and security based on current product implementations. From a timing perspective, we want to address today's problems as quickly as possible, to do a SOAP 1.1 profile that can be composed with the [upcoming] Reliable Secure Profile."
Basic Profile 2.0, which will be based on SOAP 1.2 with MTOM and XOP, "represents a clear statement from the industry that products will move into the SOAP 1.2 space relatively quickly," Bechauf said.
Basic Profile 2.0 will incorporate the following specs:
- W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 Core
- W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 SOAP Binding
- W3C WS-Addressing 1.0 WSDL Binding
- W3C SOAP Version 1.2 Part 1: Messaging Framework, and Part 2: Adjuncts
- W3C Message Transmission Optimization Method (MTOM)
- W3C XML-binary Optimized Packaging
- W3C Namespaces in XML
- W3C XML 1.0 Second Edition
- W3C WSDL 1.1
- W3C XML Schema 2001 Part 1: Structures, and Part 2: Datatypes
- OASIS UDDI 2 and UDDI 3
- WSDL 1.1 Binding Extension for SOAP 1.2
The second charter establishes the Reliable Secure Profile Working Group, which will begin its work in parallel with the work of the OASIS WS-Reliable Exchange Technical Committee. The RSP 1.0 will be based on OASIS WS-ReliableMessaging 1.1 and OASIS WS-SecureConversation 1.3.
Bechauf expects to appoint chairpeople in about two weeks and said the hope is to complete the work toward the early part of 2007. According to WS-I, the Basic Profile 1.2 and 2.0, and the Reliable Secure Profile 1.0, when practical, will cleanly compose with other WS-I profiles delivered to date.