WS-I Basic Profile: Why Wait?

Microsoft's Yasser Shohoud says customers should not wait for a a basic profile from WS-I but should use tools that are available today.

DALLAS—While the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) is working toward a basic profile for interoperability of Web services, customers should not wait but should use tools that are available today.

During a session at the here, Yasser Shohoud, a program manager on the Microsoft XML Messaging team, said he does not know when the industry will see a basic profile from WS-I, but it should not matter.

"I dont know [when the WS-I Basic Profile will be ready], but does it matter?" Shohoud said. "I think the world should not wait for that."

Shohoud said, "The bottom line is when youre trying to interoperate you have tools that need to work together," but there are few tools that support the broad spectrum of interoperability issues.

In the interim, while a WS-I Basic Profile is being hashed out, "people should avoid things in the basic profile that are not widely used," Shohoud said. "If you are ready to build Web services today, you should not be waiting for any profile."

The WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 was approved as a draft specification in April, but has not been approved as a final document yet.

Playing devils advocate in the session, Don Box, a lead XML architect at Microsoft and renowned Web services guru, asked Shohoud how long it would take the world to shift to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Version 1.2.

"Whats the compelling reason to switch?" Shohoud asked. "Do you care as a customer? Does it really matter to you? I think not. I wonder if customers will be out there pounding on the door asking for SOAP 1.2."

Added Shohoud: "Id do it when I buy a platform that does that [switches from SOAP 1.1 to 1.2] for me. The real question is, When will platform vendors ship [products that support the shift]?"

Clemens Vasters, CEO of newtelligence AG, of Korschenbroich, Germany, who also spoke during the session, said: "Weve been fighting the war against CORBA [Common Object Request Broker Architecture], but if you look at .Net Remoting and look at CORBA, theyre like the same thing. So all COM [Microsofts Component Object Model] people should stand up and say, Hey, .Net Remoting is wrong," but theyre not."

Vasters was referring to the long running battle between Microsoft and the Object Management Group (OMG), which oversees the CORBA specification. While the COM-versus-CORBA debate has raged in the industry for years, Microsoft has recently shown signs of warming to the OMG, sponsoring two recent OMG Web services events.

Steve Swartz, a Microsoft architect working on .Net Remoting and also a former COM aficionado, said COM lives on. "COM will live as long as Windows lives." He said Microsofts Windows developers are porting a lot of COM into Windows, namely the upcoming Longhorn version of the operating system.

"When we stop getting physically bigger, we do not die," Swartz said. "COM is a grownup now."

Attempting an analogy, Box said, "XML and .Net are like the hair on your head; COM is like eyebrow hair."