Industry leaders align around Web interoperability

A group of technology leaders – including IBM – have formed the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Organisation.

The initiative is designed to accelerate development and deployment of interoperable Web services across a variety of platforms, applications and programming languages. Web services are a platform and language-independent means of building distributed systems that can connect and interact with one another easily and efficiently across the Internet, based on industry standards.

WS-I founders also include Accenture, BEA Systems, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP AG. It is open to all organisations committed to promoting interoperability among Web services based on industry-accepted definitions and open standards support.

The mission of WS-I will be to provide implementation guidance to support customers deploying Web services, promote consistent and reliable interoperability among Web services and articulate a common industry vision for Web services.

WS-I will initially create a suite of tools and materials for testing implementation and conformance with ‘basic level’ Web services standards – XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. These testing capabilities are important so that customers can ensure that their implementations comply with the best-practices use of these Web services specifications.

Tests will be self administered and aimed at uncovering unconventional usage or errors in specification implementations, thus improving interoperability between applications and across platforms.

As Web services mature and gain mainstream momentum, the need will arise for additional capabilities that are not fully addressed in the current Web services standards. To meet these needs, WS-I will publish an architectural road map for identifying functional areas and capabilities that need to be addressed in future Web services specifications.

As new specifications are created and adopted by multiple standards organisations to enhance current Web service capabilities, WS-I will provide a forum to ensure testing materials support the evolving set of requirements and their interdependencies.

Rod Smith, vice president of emerging technologies, IBM, said, ‘Interoperability via evolving open standards is the cornerstone of Web services. That is why WS-I is crucial for ensuring the continued deployment success of Web services technology within and between enterprises. The momentum of vendors and the cross-industry commitment behind WS-I demonstrate that the Web services community is maturing and focusing on customer needs. WS-I will speed the worldwide adoption of Web services by providing critical interoperability guidance and testing materials that work across multiple platforms.’