IBM: web services spec not ready for standardisation

A specification for web services choreography and business processes introduced by Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems last August...

A specification for web services choreography and business processes introduced by Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems last August remains under its founders' jurisdiction, despite repeated assurances of its pending submission to an industry standards organisation.

The specification, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), is gaining momentum in the industry as a way to automate web services back-end interactions.

Companies such as Collaxa and BEA have offered details of product plans for supporting BPEL4WS. The specification's founders have pledged to submit the proposal to a standards organisation, such as the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards or the World Wide Web Consortium, for consideration as an industry standard.

But this still has not happened, IBM's Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere Infrastructure Software and recently director of web services technologies at the company, acknowledged during the developerWorksLive conference last week. 

Sutor said there are political issues that have come about pertaining to differences of opinion on the specification. Asked if the issues had to do with intellectual property rights, pertaining to royalty rights for BPEL4WS founders, Sutor said IBM would not seek any royalties on BPEL4WS, as he has pledged before. 

BEA also has made such a pledge, but Microsoft has not publicly done so.

An IBM official as recently as late March said BPEL4WS would be submitted to a standards organisation in the short term.

Also at developerWorks, Sutor commented on a separate standardisation issue. Sutor reiterated that he still believes the Java Community Process (JCP) for standardising Java technologies is controlled by Sun Microsystems, the founder of the programming language. 

"What we would hope is eventually we would get to a point where there's no single company that has main control over it," he said. "We'll certainly keep participating" in JCP, said Sutor.

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