DEVWORKS: Web services spec not ready for standardization

A specification for Web services choreography and business processes introduced by Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., and BEA Systems Inc. last August remains under its founders’ jurisdiction, despite repeated assurances of its pending submission to an industry standards organization.

The specification, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPELWS), is gaining momentum in the industry as a way to automate Web services back-end interactions for Web-based integration of applications such as e-business. Companies such as Collaxa and BEA have offered details of product plans for supporting BPEL4WS. The specification’s founders have pledged to submit the proposal to a standards organization such as OASIS or W3C for consideration as an industry standard.

But this still has not happened, an IBM official acknowledged during the developerWorksLive conference in New Orleans.

“I don’t have any news for you on that,” said IBM’s Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere Infrastructure Software and recently director of Web services technologies at the company.

“Stay tuned. We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to pull together all the interested parties on that,” he said.

Sutor said there are political issues that have come about pertaining to differences of opinion on the specification. Asked if the issues had to do with intellectual property rights, pertaining to royalty rights for BPEL4WS founders, Sutor said IBM would not seek any royalties on BPEL4WS, as he has pledged before.

BEA also has made such a pledge, but Microsoft has not publicly done so.

An IBM official as recently as late March said BPEL4WS would be submitted to a standards organization in the short term.

Also at developerWorks, Sutor commented on a separate standardization issue. Sutor reiterated that he still believes the Java Community Process (JCP) for standardizing Java technologies is controlled by Sun Microsystems, the founder of the programming language.

“What we would hope is eventually we would get to a point where there’s no single company that has main control over it,” he said. “We’ll certainly keep participating” in JCP, said Sutor.

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