New Group Promotes Web Services Interoperability

The Web Services Test Forum launched to provide an open community to improve the quality of the Web services standards. Initial members include IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Cisco, TIBCO and Ford.

A new industry consortium has formed to address the issue of Web services testing and interoperability, with big names such as IBM, Oracle, Cisco and Red Hat leading the way among vendors and end-user organizations such as Ford Motor Co. taking part as well.

The Web Services Test Forum launched on Dec. 8, providing an open community to improve the quality of the Web services standards, with initial membership from Active Endpoints, the Automotive Industry Association, Axway, Cisco, Eviware, Ford, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Software AG, Teamlog and TIBCO Software. Using customer-based scenarios, interoperability is validated in a multivendor testing environment.

WSTF officials said customers and vendors alike, independent of their geographic location, can dynamically test their applications against available implementations to ensure interoperability is preserved. As an open community, WSTF has made it easy to introduce new interoperability scenarios and approve work through simple majority governance.

"IBM is a founding member of the Web Services Test Forum," said Karla Norsworthy, vice president of software standards at IBM. "We've been active in implementing scenarios and maintaining IBM product endpoints as well as socializing the benefits within the community and encouraging participation."

Moreover, Norsworthy added:

"This extends our ability to provide customers with interoperability for Web services-based scenarios. This forum provides us with a way to test for interoperability across product and specification life cycles-so that it is easy for us to verify that a new release or fix pack still interoperates with other vendor implementations. This saves us from needing to bring up copies of products from other vendors in our labs. It also provides a lightweight way to test new scenarios of interest to customers-and a forum to bring the community together to have those conversations. This will give our customers additional assurance on interoperability promises-as well as documented best practices to help them deploy service-oriented solutions in a timely way."

WSTF officials said members plan to work closely with their customers to develop scenarios and fill a void by providing access to an open forum to test or validate applications and services.

"The Web Services Test Forum (WSTF), an open organization consisting of representatives from industry, will play a key role in accelerating interoperability for Web services standards by not waiting for Web services standards to be approved before initiating testing based on customer scenarios," said Dan Toth, manager of Enterprise Architecture at Ford, in a statement. "It is very important that interoperability issues be identified as early as possible in order to eliminate obstacles to adopting Web services."