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OASIS, the standards organization, has just initiated a new Technical Committee (TC) to look at Asynchronous Services Access Protocol (ASAP) which will be an extension of SOAP the Simple Object Access Protocol. Peter Abrahams of comments.

Market Analysis

OASIS, the standards organisation, has just initiated a new Technical Committee (TC) to look at Asynchronous Services Access Protocol (ASAP) which will be an extension of SOAP the Simple Object Access Protocol.

The S in SOAP could have stood for synchronous as SOAP is a request reply protocol. ASAP could, as it always did, stand for as soon as possible as it is an asynchronous protocol to allow the monitoring control and development of Web services that have long response times. This will bring the possibility of a complete new type of Web services.

The most obvious example is a service that includes some human workflow. The response time of humans is long in comparison to computerised Web services measured in minutes or hours rather than milliseconds.

But it could also be tell me when flight AB123 has landed, where the response will come back ASAP, but not immediately. Or the Web service could be on a mobile wireless and therefore the response can only occur when the device is connected, this would provide a new way of downloading data from mobile devices on demand.

Creating a protocol, which would make asynchronous Web services easy to implement and connect to, appears to be a noble aim and the industry should put its weight behind it.

So far the committee is an interesting selection of players: Amberpoint (for Web system management tools), Cisco (the network people), CA (the everything people), Datapower (an XML hardware accelerator), Fujitsu (who have a BPM product), iWay (the adapter company), Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) (who promote and develop work flow) plus some individual members.

The mixture of talents shows the wide ranging influence of Web services and the importance of standards to them. However at the moment it does lack the likely suspects and it is to be hoped that they will join in good time.

It is a small enough group that should be able to develop the outline of a standard rapidly.

With three months, the OASIS ASAP TC intends to deliver:

  • Initial draft specification
  • Introduction with examples
  • Reference implementation
  • WSDL specification
  • Within five months, the TC intends to deliver the completed specification.
Bloor will monitor and report on progress of the standard, and the development of products to support the standard.

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