In an unexpected move, Sun Microsystems Inc. said it will join the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Web Services Business Process Execution Language technical committee.
A Sun spokesman told eWEEK that Sun will be joining the WSBPEL technical committee and will be in attendance at the first face-to-face meeting of the group, slated for May 16.
"Absolutely, Sun will be joining," the spokesman said. "We will be there at the first meeting on May 16. No rep named yet but we will have one by then."
The move indicates something of a turnabout for Sun, which is supporting an alternative specification to handle Web services orchestration, known as WS-Choreography. That standard, also supported by Oracle Corp. and others, is being developed under the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The Sun-led effort was an ongoing effort when a group led by IBM and Microsoft Corp. ushered the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS—now known as BPEL, for short) specification into an OASIS technical committee late last month.
Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass., market research firm ZapThink LLC, said Suns move "is a very good move for Sun and the industry as a whole. There seems to be consolidation around WSBPEL as the specification of choice for orchestration and choreography, and as such, it makes sense not to split efforts between different standards groups, but rather to coalesce on a single spec. Without this agreement, it will take the wrangling of the WS-I [Web Services Interoperability Organization] to sort this all out."
Of the competing standards organizations, Schmelzer added: "In general, I think even the W3C realizes that there has to be some accord here to ensure that the industry doesnt fracture along vendor lines. In order to get real adoption of a spec, there needs to be agreement on which standards organization has the responsibility for creation and maintenance of the spec, and it looks like OASIS is the group for orchestration and choreography. The W3C just needs to find a role for themselves that doesnt put them at odds with the group."
In a recent interview with eWEEK, John Fowler, Suns chief technology officer for software, said Sun will be supporting both the WS-Choreography specification and BPEL in Suns Java Business Integration effort. WS-Choreography is based on the Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) specification, an effort led by Sun and BEA Systems Inc., among others.
The WSBPEL group, led by IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Siebel Systems Inc. and SAP AG, will work to advance the BPEL specification, and IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Siebel and SAP will officially submit BPEL4WS Version 1.1 to OASIS under royalty-free terms on May 16 when the technical committee meets to consider submissions of related technology or standards efforts. Sun will be among the number of companies at the meeting, the company said.
BEA, SAP, Oracle, Novell Inc., Intalio Inc. and some others have expressed plans to support both specifications—initially signing on to support WS-Choreography and then BPEL.
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