IBM, Microsoft and BEA team up on Web services

IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems are set to announce a joint venture to promote Web standards defined by the World Wide Web...

IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems are set to announce a joint venture to promote Web standards defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Organisation for the Advancement Of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

The purpose of the new group, called the Web Service Interoperability Organisation, is to campaign to educate developers on building Web services and act as an advocate for building block standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI), and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

The group will be actively encouraging the consistency of future Web services standards addressing capabilities such as transactions management systems, security, identification, and authorisation.

"This group will not be all about developing new standards, but making sure existing ones like SOAP and UDDI interoperate well," said an industry source familiar with the group's charter. "They are not coming up with some silver bullet that makes Java and .Net interoperate better or bigger scale things like that," he said.

Members of the new group, particularly IBM and Microsoft, may use it as a platform to also educate users and developers about the different approaches each may take in implementing Web services .

"I think the real story here is trying to ensure a solid and level playing field for all participants, but it is also about the battle for the hearts, minds, and wallets for the developers of Web services," said another industry source. "There is more than a little money to be made with Web services in the future," he added.

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Where SOA standards matter: The SAP view Jeff Anders, director of solution marketing SAP AG's NetWeaver Developer Platform, was at JavaOne this month making a pitch for the new NetWeaver Composition Environment tool for standards-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) development. He brought along Michael Bechauf, vice president of industry standards at SAP, and currently chairman of the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) to help make the point that the standards-based approach broadens the reach of SAP tools beyond SAP. Anders and Bechauf answered questions on why standards, including Java EE 5, Service Component Architecture (SCA) now with OASIS, and WS-I guidelines matter in SOA tooling. Bechauf also talked about the need for Web services interoperability that transcends some of the debate over what is the latest and greatest technology. He argues that business people are looking for the Web to provide a "ubiquitous dial tone" so they can transact business over the Internet as easily as they do over the telephone.

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