Microsoft Previews Kit for Building Web Services

Microsoft Corp. last week took a step to advance Web services capabilities in announcing the availability of its WSDK technical preview.

Microsoft Corp. last week took a step to advance Web services capabilities in announcing the availability of its WSDK technical preview.

Web Services Development Kit provides tools developers need to build advanced Web services applications using the latest Web services specifications, such as Web Services-Security, WS-Routing and WS-Attachments.

WS-Security, jointly introduced by Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., IBM and VeriSign Inc. in April and submitted to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards in June, is among the first Web services standards to support, integrate and unify multiple security models, mechanisms and technologies, allowing various systems to interoperate.

WSDK, now available as a free download from Microsofts Web site, incorporates the companys recent work with such partners as IBM and VeriSign and with customers to develop Web services specifications beyond XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) interoperability across heterogeneous systems.

In addition, the specifications are designed to be modular so that developers using WSDK can incorporate a specification on an as-needed basis into Web applications.

The primary features in the WSDK technology preview include security—the ability to help secure XML Web services across platforms and domains, including digital signatures and the encryption of SOAP messages.

WSDK includes routing, which is the ability to transfer an XML Web service through intermediaries using WS-Routing, which describes how to place message addresses in the SOAP message header and enables SOAP messages to travel to multiple destinations.

Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, a Cambridge, Mass., XML and Web services market research company, said WSDK is not necessarily a step away from IBM as much as a move to bring Microsoft developers into the companys Web services fold.

"Basically, they had to do it to get their developers to use the stuff they spent time creating," Schmelzer said. "This allows them to take their [Active Server Pages] .Net developers and other developers and give them a kick in the pants to use it."

Microsoft still wants interoperability, Schmelzer said he believes, "but they dont want their stuff to be replaceable. Like in the J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] world, you can remove BEA [Systems Inc.] software and replace it with something else."

Eric Rudder, senior vice president of the Developer and Platform Evangelism division at Microsoft, said WSDK expands the experience of Visual Studio and .Net Framework developers.

In addition, Microsoft said communication among XML Web services could contain attachments that are not serialized into XML.

WSDK provides the ability to add attachments to SOAP messages by following the WS-Attachments specification, which was jointly submitted with IBM to the Internet Engineering Task Force in July.