UPDATE: Vendors publish two new Web services specs

Two new specifications related to message delivery for interoperable Web services applications were published Thursday, along with a white paper produced by IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

IBM, Microsoft, BEA Systems Inc. and Tibco Software Inc. jointly announced publication of the WS-ReliableMessaging specification, which provides a protocol whereby messages that are unreceived or are duplicates can be detected, while messages that are received can be processed in the order in which they were sent.

IBM, Microsoft and BEA published the WS-Addressing specification, which provides a way to identify and exchange references to Web service end points, the companies said in a statement. The specification further defines a set of commonly used message information headers. Those two elements of the specification will allow transport-neutral, bidirectional, synchronous and asynchronous interactions across networks that might include end point managers, firewalls and gateways.

“It’s like a return address” on a piece of postal mail, said Steven VanRoekel, Microsoft director of Web services marketing, in Redmond, Wash., of the addressing specification and what it does. “No matter where the letter goes around the world, it can be sent back to the sender.”

Besides the specifications, IBM and Microsoft published the white paper, Reliable Message Delivery in a Web Services World: A Proposed Architecture and Roadmap, which gives examples of applications and identifies areas that need to be addressed for an advanced Web services architecture. The paper also introduces the ReliableMessaging protocol and how it fits with other Web services specifications, including WS-Policy and WS-Security.

Within a few weeks, early code for the specifications will be posted at developer Web sites and feedback will be sought from developers and from customers, said Karla Norsworthy, IBM director of dynamic e-business technologies, based in Raleigh, N.C. Feedback will be solicited for several months, including from other companies involved in Web services, she said.

The vendors involved in publishing the specifications also will take those to a standards body for consideration, although a decision has not been made which body the specifications will go to — the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) or the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), she said. The Web services standards work already done by each of those groups and what they have focused on will be determining factors in which one is presented the specifications for consideration, she said.

After that part of the process, the hope is that the vendors also will work with the Web Services Interoperability organization on the specifications, Norsworthy said. That organization was created specifically to create, promote and support generic protocols for interoperable message exchange between Web services, according to its Web site.

Support for the new specifications will be included in Microsoft’s Visual Studio in about the third quarter of this year, VanRoekel said. IBM will offer support in WebSphere messaging, Norsworthy said. Reliable messaging support is included in WebLogic 8.1, announced a few weeks ago by BEA.

The three top-priority areas of security, reliability and transactions have now been addressed with published specifications, VanRoekel said, which provides a basis for Web services to flourish. Management specifications are likely to be the next area that needs to be addressed, Norsworthy said.

The white paper on the specifications and the road map can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/webservices/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnglobspec/html/ws-rm-exec-summary.asp.