In an effort to ensure interoperability on how software providers and developers create products from Web services, the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) announced on Tuesday the general availability of the basic profile 1.0.
Consisting of implementation guidelines on how core Web services specifications should be used together to develop interoperable Web services, the specifications covered in the basic profile include SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, UDDI 2.0, XML 1.0 and XML Schema.
Along with these specifications, the basic profile features a set of conventions, best practices and guidelines about how to use the specifications together and also for specific applications, said Rob Cheng, WS-I spokesperson and Oracle Inc.’s principle product marketing manager for Web services and emerging standards.
In total, the profile outlines more than 200 technical guidelines on how a developer should implement a Web service.
“We are applying them in aggregate to solve a particular problem, so we are focusing on such things as enterprise computing, business-to-business processing and business transactions where you can actually narrow the range of needed functionality down to make interoperability easier,” Cheng said.
One example Cheng provided is error handling. “Some of the specifications don’t go into great detail about how to deal with errors, but they assume that it’s part of the customization that you are going to do when you apply this for your particular problem,” he said.
Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Cheng said it is important to determine what messages are going to be sent, in terms of what types of errors there are and how to communicate faults and failures. “This is something that really hasn’t been in those specifications.”
The basic profile also deals with such issues as infrastructure, code, security and messaging, he explained.
The goal of the guideline is to drive adoption of Web services with corporations and to simplify the lives of software developers who write Web services applications. Cheng added that the WS-I isn’t trying to fix something that isn’t broken and they aren’t trying to criticise the underlying specifications.
“The WS-I provides a way for the entire Web services community to take the next step in unison,” he said.
Tom Glover, chairman of WS-I, said that in all cases the standards that have been issued need flexibility, and by taking the decision-making away from every single developer that uses Web services, the WS-I basic profile will behave in a standard way.
“The first victory is that we actually managed to come to an agreement,” Glover said referring to the unanimous approval of the 11-member WS-I board of directors on the basic profile, and by the approximately 170-member organizations.
The WS-I is an open industry organization and not a standards body like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It takes standards from organizations and develops interoperability and usage profiles. The organization released a working draft for the basic profile 10 months ago. It was formed in February 2002.
Now that the basic profile has been achieved, over time, individual vendors will throw their support behind the profile, Glover said.
“Web services is a next step along the evolution of application integration. If we can get Web services to work, to live up to its promises – then application integration is going to be faster, cheaper and that’s going to be a big benefit for the marketplace,” Glover said. “Before that happens there has to be a set of standards governing what Web services look like.”
Mississauga, Ont.-based Ben Watson, senior product manager, Web services, Microsoft Canada Co., said the creation of the roadmap for how to relate the core Web services stack of standards is the most important aspect of the WS-I’s basic profile.
“We are building the beginning of a roadmap for how standards will evolve and how company’s react, [and we’ve] also started to build the place or the common resource that will exist for everyone,” he said.
In the fall, the WS-I plans to release test tools and sample applications that support the basic profile.
The test tools – in both C+ and Java – are designed to inspect and validate that a Web service meets the interoperability requirements of the basic profile, Glover said. The tool will tell a developer if it detects any non-compliance.
Glover said the sample applications helps engineers understand at their level, what the specifications mean, and how it is deployed to produce a running application.
The sample applications demonstrate the basic profile at work, including the design, implementation, test and deployment of Web services, he added.
The WS-I is on the Web at www.ws-i.org.