Standards will boost reliability of Web services transactions

Businesses could soon be able to build Web services systems without fear of compatibility problems with technology from different...

Businesses could soon be able to build Web services systems without fear of compatibility problems with technology from different suppliers, if a new set of standards fulfils its promise.

BEA Systems, IBM and Microsoft have released specifications to make Web services transactions more robust and independent of their underlying programming languages.

The three specifications describe how to define, create and connect multiple Web services involved in a single business process to allow reliable communications between them. This should mean that transactions are not lost or duplicated when technical problems arise over the Internet links.

Ian Doyle, senior architect at BEA, said, "The core component is based on IBM's WSFL [Web Services Flow Language] and Microsoft's XLang, with input from BEA. This means that it will not matter whether the interlinked Web services are built on Java or .net."

For example, if a flight-booking Web site partners with a separate hotel booking agency and a car hire firm to allow customers to select services from all three according to the destination chosen, the system relies on all three being available simultaneously. The standards will allow Web services to ensure that the bookings are not accidentally duplicated if a system fails during execution and that they will be folded back if one of the sites is unavailable for a pre-determined length of time.

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