Testing in an Open Environment
Members can test their product implementations against other members' in an open environment. Providing access to continuously available services minimizes the need for each vendor or customer to set up multivendor test environments in-house, WSTF officials said. This testing is intended to help organizations deliver higher quality products and open standards specifications, simplifying integration and improving interoperability for customers in heterogeneous environments. "The WSTF is a community-driven initiative, in some ways a successor to the early SoapBuilders work," said Steve Harris, senior vice president of the Java Platform Group at Oracle. "What Oracle brings to the table is hosted endpoints and hands-on work with the participants in driving the public and emerging scenarios. Given Oracle Fusion Middleware's hot-pluggable strategy, which supports multiple application servers and component technologies, Oracle benefits from easier access to multiple vendors and from the shared knowledge in supporting real-world scenarios and best practices."Rajan added, "For Active Endpoints, WSTF represents an efficient way to carry out broad multivendor testing and integration." The AIAG is the first industry association member of the WSTF. The AIAG joined WSTF to improve interoperability capability within the automotive messaging infrastructure, AIAG officials said. "AIAG's members operate with a complex set of inter-related processes, executing both internally and connecting externally to their partners. Interoperability is a critical success factor for the automotive messaging infrastructure," said Tim Fowler, director of supply chain and e-commerce at AIAG. "AIAG sees WSTF as the forum in which we can quickly validate interoperability requirements against a multivendor environment and translate the results into concrete plans for the continual improvement of the automotive messaging capability." Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink, said he wonders why the WS-I wasn't enough. Said Schmelzer:
Sonal Rajan, senior marketing manager at Active Endpoints, said his company has been involved since WSTF's inception. "We felt it was important to do so, given the role that orchestration plays in our customers' multivendor SOA [service-oriented architecture] infrastructure. Interoperability as a result is key for us. Through the WS-I 1.1 Basic Profile [Web Services Interoperability Organization], interoperability has helped the industry significantly; the proof is in demonstrating interoperability and developing best practices. To date, we've developed client and service implementations for each of the scenarios currently under test. And we've continued with the rest of the team in the development and testing of others. ActiveVOS is used as the implementation of both, and as such we use it as a service consumer and a provider."
In some ways the efforts of the WSTF is redundant with the efforts of the WS-I, but then again, the WS-I hasn't been doing much in the past few years. In fact, it's pretty notable how absent the WS-I has been from SOA efforts in the past few years. The fact that we would need a new organization to focus on interoperability scenarios says much about the inability of the industry to come to any long-term agreement on these things. Also, the fact that it is always the same group of vendors rearranging the deck chairs on the interoperability question really makes one wonder whether the vendors will ever be able to champion the task of interoperability on their own. Perhaps a consortium of the largest IT buying end users should be in charge instead?Meanwhile, the WSTF plans to work with various standards bodies to help speed the standardization process for emerging Web services standards. The WSTF initiative is open to all software vendors, service providers and customers interested in furthering Web services and their use throughout the industry. Members are able to recommend and initiate work on new scenarios, supporting both emerging specifications and approved standards. Interested organizations can visit www.wstf.org for more information.