Crucial web services standard enters final straight

The Worldwide Web Consortium is considering the adoption of the Web Services Addressing specification as a standard.

The Worldwide Web Consortium is considering the adoption of the Web Services Addressing specification as a standard.

WS-Addressing is a key specification on the internet. It defines endpoint references and message information headers so systems can transmit web services messages. It is designed to underlie other specifications such as WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-Federation.

"This is a critical piece of infrastructure," said Dave Mendlen, director of web services technical marketing at Microsoft. "The other web services build on top of this core specification."

Like other web services specifications under development, WS-Addressing will help deliver on the promise of web services by facilitating data exchange between disparate applications.

Sun is new in the list of WS-Addressing backers, which also includes BEA, IBM and SAP. Along with Oracle, Nokia and others, Sun submitted to the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) a competing specification called WS-MessageDelivery. After making its peace with Microsoft earlier this year, Sun now endorses WS-Addressing.

"At the end of the day our customers want one specification," said Ed Julson, director of web services marketing for Sun. "It would be logical to back the one with the most market momentum."

Sun now plans to support WS-Addressing in its Java Enterprise System products. During the W3C process, Sun and the other WS-MessageDelivery creators will comment on WS-Addressing to come to a single addressing standard.

SAP technology architect Marc Goodner said SAP intended to support WS-Addressing in a future version of NetWeaver. "We see this specification as reducing complexity for our customers."

Microsoft, IBM and BEA also said they would support WS-Addressing in their products.

"The whole goal is to ensure interoperability so our customers can integrate key business processes that might be on different platforms," said IBM's Karla Norsworthy.

The creators of WS-Addressing said submitting the specification to the W3C was a milestone in their efforts to provide a standards-based foundation for web services. They said they would not charge royalties in conjunction with the specification.

More information on the WS-Addressing specification is available at

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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