ASAP spec proposed for delayed Web services

Oasis is working on standard technology to enable Web services to function in situations in which business process communications...

Oasis is working on standard technology to enable Web services to function in situations in which business process communications have a delayed response, as opposed to the quick responses normally associated with Web services.

ASAP (asynchronous service access protocol) is intended to provide for a simple extension to Soap that enables generic asynchronous Web services or long-running Web services.

The technology would be used when an answer to a request might take from minutes to months to arrive.

The service being invoked might be automated, a manual task that a person performs, or a mixture of the two.

ASAP is intended to be particularly suited for B2B or intra-organisational service requests.

A demonstration of ASAP, along with a companion specification, Wf-XML (Workflow XML), is planned for the Brainstorm Group’s Business Process Management Conference in San Francisco on 23 June.

ASAP is in a committee draft form at the Oasis ASAP committee, with plans calling for it to be finalised by the end of the year, according to the committee's chairman, Keith Swenson.

Swenson has been working on ASAP for a number of years.

ASAP presents a standards-based alternative to publish-and-subscribe messaging, he said. Wf-XML, meanwhile, is being worked on by the Workflow Management Coalition.

Wf-XML provides for a lifecycle of services, or a services “factory”, according to Swenson. A factory represents a specific service such as a loan application.

An analyst, though, was highly critical of ASAP.

“ASAP is a new standard that offers new capabilities for asynchrony,” said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.

“I can think of at least a half-dozen specifications trying to accomplish what they are [trying to do with ASAP].” He cited, among others, WS-Eventing, WS-ReliableMessaging, and WSBPEL [Web Services Business Process Execution Language].

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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