Microsoft is considering whether to participate in a Web services standards effort called the Web Services Test Forum, which is backed by IBM, Oracle and others, but the software giant has indicated it may be redundant. The WSTF provides an open community with the goal of improving the quality of the Web services standards; initial members are Active Endpoints, AIAG, Axway, Cisco Systems, Eviware, Ford Motor, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Software AG, Teamlog and TIBCO Software.
is considering whether to participate in a Web services standards
effort called the Web
Services Test Forum,
which is backed by IBM,
Oracle and others, but the software giant has indicated it may be redundant.
In a blog post entitled "Higher
Standards for Web Standards," Steven Martin,
director of developer platform product management, discussed Microsoft's
criteria for supporting various standards. He also called into question whether
Microsoft should back WSTF.
Martin said Microsoft tries to put itself "in the shoes of actual
developers and IT pros" and ask, "'What are the barriers I'm facing
today, and what do I need to solve them?'" He wrote:
In many cases, the right answer isn't
necessarily to define something new, but to instead carefully consider whether
technology or initiatives already exist to solve the problem. In the end, we
should judge the strength of standards on industry and customer adoption alone.
As an example, IBM recently announced a consortium called
Services Test Forum which leaves us a tad puzzled.
Martin said Web services standards are already mature and capable of
handling most situations that arise. He added:
As of today, the WS-* standards are
largely complete within W3C, OASIS, WS-I, DMTF, etc. and are widely implemented
in infrastructure products and used by organizations all over the world. We
were thrilled to participate in the Oasis announcement
just last week on WS-RX, WS-TX and WS-SX. With regard to testing, we think it
is critical that customers be able to propose scenarios that match their
real-world interoperability needs. Equally important-both
successes and failures must be made public. This is why we're still evaluating
our participation in WSTF.
Martin went on to detail some of Microsoft's efforts in the Web services
standards community. Yet, perhaps his most telling statement about the WSTF
situation is in his opening comments:
Since the emergence of web services in
the 90s, we've seen an explosion of standards and standards bodies. Sometimes,
they emerge based on new innovations, other times they're created to unblock a
stalemate on a similar standard or organization. Occasionally they are created
simply to change the technology landscape in a way that is more favorable for
Moreover, Martin asked, "Do we need additional standards? The answer is
almost certainly yes. But before touting a new standard or standards
organization, vendors need to be clear about what specific issue is being
solved and hold all parties accountable for doing so. Public access is a key
criterion we have in mind as we think about WSTF.
So what can you do? Continue to contribute at all levels; standards are only as
good as the community formed around them."
The Web Services Test
Forum launched in December, providing an open community with
the goal of improving the quality of the Web services standards, with initial
membership from Active Endpoints, AIAG, Axway, Cisco Systems, Eviware, Ford
Motor, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Software AG, Teamlog and TIBCO