IBM, Microsoft Corp., BEA Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and other industry leaders have banded together to form the Web Services Interoperability Organization to promote the development and deployment of Web services, officials of the organization announced Wednesday.
In addition to those companies, others such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Accenture and SAP AG are founding members of the WS-I, which was formally announced Wednesday afternoon.
The stated purpose of the organization is to focus on achieving a standard way for interoperable Web services to run across a variety of platforms, applications and programming languages, the group said.
To that end, the group will provide implementation guidance to support customers deploying Web services.
WS-I will deliver a set of tools for Web services testing and implementation, as well as a road map outlining an overall Web services direction for the industry, WS-I officials said
Web services are a platform- and language-independent means of building distributed systems that can connect and interact with one another easily and efficiently across the Internet, based on industry standards.
In addition to its founding members, several other companies have pledged their support for WS-I, including Autodesk Inc., Cape Clear Software Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Corillian Corp., Dassault Systems, J.D. Edwards, Epicor Software Corp., Flemenco Networks, Fujitsu, Grand Central Networks Inc., Groove Networks, Iona Technologies, Kana Inc., Macromedia Inc., McAfee, Pivotal Corp., Plumtree Software Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc., RealNames Corp., Reuters, Toshiba and Versata Inc.
The WS-I will create a suite of tools for testing implementation and conformance with "basic-level" Web services standards, including XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. The tests will be self-administered and aimed at improving interoperability by pointing out unconventional usage or errors in specification implementations.
WS-I also will publish an architectural road map for identifying areas that need to be addressed in future Web services specifications.
"Interoperability via evolving open standards is the cornerstone for Web services -- that is why WS-I is crucial for ensuring the continued deployment success of Web services technology within and between enterprises," said Rod Smith, IBMs vice president of emerging technology in a statement. "The momentum of vendors and the cross-industry commitment behind WS-I demonstrate that the Web services community is maturing and focusing on customer needs. WS-I will speed the worldwide adoption of Web services by providing critical interoperability guidance and testing materials that work across multiple platforms."
"Ensuring that Web services implementations interoperate across heterogeneous platforms is crucial to furthering the evolution of Web services and driving customer adoption," said Daryl Plummer, group vice president and research group director at Gartner Group, in a statement released by the WS-I. "WS-I is an expected and necessary industry initiative that will address the key issue of interoperability, which is instrumental in moving Web services to the next level of acceptance and adoption."