Sun is invited to play at WS-I

After nearly a year of noticeable absence from the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I), Sun Microsystems has joined as a contributing member.

The WS-I is a group of more than 150 companies that formed in February to foster interoperability of Web services software from different companies. Its board features permanent seats held by Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp, and BEA Systems Inc., but has excluded Sun’s involvement until now, according to Sun officials. The company had the option to join but chose not to because it could not serve on the board.

Now that Sun can become a WS-I board member, as per a recently approved by-laws, it is signing up.

Neil Charney, director of .Net strategy at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., and a WS-I spokesperson, described the mandate of the group.

“It’s not a standards organization; it’s downstream from groups like W3C and OASIS,” he said. “Its goal is to provide clarity and support for developers and end users. We’re not creating SOAP and WSDL – those have been created and are residing within other organizations – we’re creating the guidelines for how these technologies should work together

to ensure interoperability.”