After a long period of hype around Web services, the Web Services-Interoperability organization last week announced the official delivery of WS-I Basic Profile 1.0.
WS-I BP 1.0 is a set of specifications that guarantee Web services interoperability if users adhere to the profiles guidelines and if vendors include support for it in products. The profile identifies how Web services specifications should be used together to create interoperable Web services.
Although WS-I BP 1.0 has been available as a draft standard in public review for almost a year, the formal announcement means several vendors will endorse the profile to guarantee their offerings adhere to the standard, thus eliminating much of the research and guesswork customer organizations had to go through to find interoperable implementations.
The WS-I BP specifications include SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) 1.1; WSDL (Web Services Description Language) 1.1; Universal Description, Discovery and Integration 2.0; XML 1.0; and XML Schema.
Rob Cheng, a senior product manager at Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif., and chair of the WS-I marketing committee, said when he talks to customers about Web services, "the real thing they focus on is that companies will not have to worry about plumbing anymore.
"This [profile] will reduce cost and complexity and will reduce early-adopter risks. The Basic Profile 1.0 lays the foundation for all the future work well be doing," said Cheng at the XML Web Services One conference here.
"This means developers dont have to delve into the details of the technologies and try to pick and choose what will work," said Mark Hapner, chief Web services strategist at Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Suns representative on the WS-I board. "Now theres unanimity amongst the vendors, and theres an underlying set of scenarios represented by the WS-I sample applications."
This fall, the WS-I group will release test tools and sample applications to support the profile, available in both C# and Java. "The test suite will allow a developer to get a specific analysis about whether theyre compliant [with the BP 1.0] spec or not and, if not, what the issues are," Hapner said.
Meanwhile, the Java environment has pinned its Web services future on WS-I BP. The Java Community Profile "has made WS-I BP 1.0 compliance a required part of the [Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition] 1.4 certification," Hapner said.
Tom Glover, chairman of WS-I and an engineer at IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., said the primary goal of the initial version of WS-I BP 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.
Oracles Cheng said WS-Is near-term work will focus on security issues. First the organization will tackle 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 Burton Group, of Midvale, Utah. "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. ... 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."