The Microsoft Web Services Development Kit (WSDK), available in a beta version, will function with the company's Visual Studio .net development platform.
The free download provides support for three Microsoft-driven specifications that the company wants adopted as industry standards: WS-Security, WS-Attachments, and WS-Routing.
"It's a set of tools that allows Visual Studio and .net Framework developers to take advantage of the latest Web services specifications," said Steven VanRoekel, Microsoft director of Web services marketing. Promotion of interoperable e-business is a key goal of Microsoft's Web services standards efforts, he added.
A final kit will be available in two months, followed by periodic updates as new industry standards and specifications emerge, according to VanRoekel.
He warned though that standards submitted by Sun Microsystems to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), such as the Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI), were unlikely to be supported in the kit.
"I would anticipate that we would not put that in our kit", since WSCI does not fit in with the specifications Microsoft has designed, said VanRoekel.
"All these specifications are built to work together. As such we will only put in specifications that are factored to work together," he said.
An analyst defended Microsoft's plan to pursue its own proposals as standards and not accommodate Sun's. "I don't think [Microsoft is] necessarily trying to drive [its own specifications]," said John Meyer, senior analyst at Giga Information Group.
When it comes to Web services standards, Sun is not in control, said Meyer. Although Sun still has a pretty good controlling interest in what happens in Java, he added
"IBM and Microsoft specifications have a lot more momentum [than Sun's]," Meyer said. IBM participated in development of the WS-Security and WS-Routing specifications supported in the kit.
WS-Security is intended to enable secure passing of Soap messages. WS-Routing supports routing of messages through intermediaries, for example, passing an order for a part directly to a vendor. WS-Attachments enables binary attachments, such as an image, to be attached to a Soap message.