Sun, Oracle and Fujitsu to push Web services spec

Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu and Oracle announced a specification for Web services reliability, without participation from rivals...

Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu and Oracle announced a specification for Web services reliability, without participation from rivals IBM and Microsoft.

The Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability) specification is intended to help accelerate adoption of Web services by promoting linking of applications and data via standard interfaces. WS-Reliability features extensions of Soap intended to provide for guaranteed Web services delivery, eliminate message duplication and provide for message ordering.

"We believe that this specification removes one of the two major adoption barriers that exist today for Web services, the lack of security and the lack of a reliable messaging model," said Ed Julson, group marketing manager for Java and Web services at Sun.

WS-Reliability provides for quality of service for Web services at the application level rather than at the transport level, said Tom Rutt, a Fujitsu consulting engineer.

However, WS-Reliability may compete with an alternate proposal by IBM, dubbed HTTPR. IBM and Microsoft have not been invited to participate in WS-Reliability development so far, but will be able to do so when the proposal is submitted to a standards body shortly.

"It's a specification that's in an area of much need for Web services," said analyst Dwight Davis, vice-president of Summit Strategies. "Web services are nice in theory but not very good in practice unless you can assure that the messages are actually getting through when you send them."

But the lack of participation by IBM and Microsoft in WS-Reliability could hinder adoption and set up another competitive scenario.

"That's always a possibility [when] the two big heavyweights of Web services aren't participating at this point," Davis said. IBM and Microsoft so far have set the agenda in Web services specifications, ranging from establishing the core foundations of Soap, UDDI, and WSDL and moving into higher-level specifications such as WS-Security, he said.

"If [WS-Reliability] proves to be a well-designed specification, I would hope that Microsoft and IBM would lend their support to it," Davis said. "There's been plenty of movement the other way, with IBM and Microsoft proposing the specifications and expecting everyone else to rally around [them]."

WS-Reliability will be submitted to a standards body on a royalty-free basis, Rutt said. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Oasis (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) the likely candidates.

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