Meanwhile, the Java environment has pinned its Web services future on the WS-I Basic Profile. The Java Community Profile "has made WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 compliance a required part of the J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] 1.4 certification," Hapner said. "While this delivers a basic level of interoperability, its very functional," Hapner said. "It really allows a level of development and investment in Web services that was missing before. And it is usable today for the first generation of Web services."Cheng said WS-Is near-term work will focus on security issues; first the organization will attack SOAP with Attachments and then a Basic Security Profile. "I view the WS-I Basic Profile as a very important document that addresses and solves many of the basic interoperability issues associated with Web services," said Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director of the Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group. "The SOAP 1.1 and WSDL 1.1 specifications contain a number of ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors. These ambiguities leave the specifications open to interpretation, and not all vendors interpret them the same way. These specifications require formal clarification. The specifications also provide the developer with quite a few options in how to build Web services, and all these options simply compound the interoperability issues. "The WS-I Basic Profile defines a set of constraints. These constraints clarify the SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1 and UDDI 2.0 specifications, removing all the ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors associated with these specifications. These constraints also reduce the number of options that a developer can use when building Web services. If developers build services within the guideline defined by the WS-I Basic Profile, those services should be interoperable," Manes said. However, Manes added: "The biggest constraint in the WS-I Basic Profile is that it disallows the use of the SOAP Encoding system. SOAP Encoding is one of two ways to encode a SOAP message. The other way is to encode the message using an XML Schema definition. Normally, you use SOAP Encoding with RPC-style messages and a literal schema definition with Document-style messages. People refer to these message styles as RPC/Encoded and Document/Literal. So WS-I BP prohibits RPC/Encoded." Next page: Challenges Facing WS-I
Tom Glover, chairman of WS-I and an IBM engineer, said the primary goal of the initial version of the WS-I Basic Profile is to get to a base level of interoperability, "and we will move to enhanced levels from there, including security and other features." Glover highlighted the overall industry support for the profile.