Web Services Notes from All Over

Development Tools / Utilities
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

"May you live in interesting times" is an old blessing that might well describe the continuing chaos of Web Services technologies provided by various purveyors of middleware. As the technology blossoms, vendors are rushing to integrate the latest technologies into their toolkits or--if the competition becomes too hot--to propose new Web Services standards at the drop of a hat.

So it seems that Sun Microsystems is attempting to outmaneuver IBM's WebSphere Web Services strategy by proposing new standards on the eve of IBM's latest release of its software developer kit (SDK). Watching the competing press releases fly off the Web will soon require a unique Web Services application all by itself.

Utilizing Web Services: New IBM WebSphere SDK Available

On June 27, IBM announced the availability of a new SDK for WebSphere. This free SDK, which is available at the IBM developerWorks Web site, is based on the open standards of Extensible Markup Language (XML); Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP); Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI); and Web Services Description Language (WSDL ).

The new SDK weaves together tools and the core runtime infrastructure that most developers will need to design, build, and test Java-based Web Services. IBM says that the resulting services can be deployed to any open Web Services platform.

The WebSphere SDK for Web Services includes the following:

  • A lightweight WebSphere Application Server (WAS) runtime environment for Web services
  • The IBM SDK for Java Technology, Version 1.3.1
  • The UDDI4J-WSDL API to interface with a UDDI registry to publish and bind Web Services
  • A private UDDI registry that is compliant with UDDI Version 2
  • An entry-level database that provides a JDBC implementation
  • SDK installation instructions for service providers or consumers
  • Demos that can publish a service and then use a client that talks to the UDDI registry to find the service and invoke it
  • Documentation about the Web Services architecture, UDDI, and WSDL specifications
  • Sample code for Web Services operations
  • BAT/Script files to configure and set up demos and sample applications
  • Documentation on how to use the WebSphere SDK for Web Services
  • Web Services Conceptual Architecture white paper

IBM says that the WebSphere SDK for Web Services is designed for use in both a Linux and a Windows OS environment, but future versions will support the Web Services Interoperability Organization's (WS-I) upcoming profiles and scenarios. (WS-I is an open, industry organization that promotes Web Services interoperability across platforms, operating systems, and programming languages.)

Donated Web Services Technologies to the Open-Source Community

IBM has also stressed the openness of its new SDK. It says that it has donated the source code for two additional Web Services technologies to the Apache community of open-source software projects. These technologies--the Web Services Invocation Framework (WSIF) and Web Services Inspection Language for Java (WSIL4J)--are said to complement existing Web Services technologies in Apache to further promote development in the open-source community.

WSIF is a technology used for invoking services described in WSDL across various network protocols, such as SOAP, Java Message Service (JMS), and Remote Method Invocation (RMI).

WSIL4J is designed to allow Java programmers to access and use Web Services Inspection language (WS-Inspection) documents on a Web site. IBM and Microsoft co-developed this WS-Inspection specification to define how an application can inspect a Web site for available Web Services. The technologies for these two donations to the open-source community can be downloaded from the Apache site.

New Web Services Standard Proposed by Sun

Meanwhile, on June 26--amid the rumors that IBM was soon to release its new SDK--Sun Microsystems, SAP, BEA Systems, and Intalio announced yet one more Web Services specification standard. This proposed specification is called Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI). WSCI will be designed to interact with Web Services to create a scripting mechanism for developers to describe the sequence and structure by which multiple Web Services interact in an orderly manner. WSCI will be based upon the XML data format. The proposed WSCI specification is available as a free download from the Intalio Web site.

Scripting the interaction between Web Services becomes increasingly significant as applications make more sophisticated use of multiple Web Services to fulfill the requirements of seamless integration. For instance, information developed by the integration from one Web Service may be required to interact with a second Web Service in order to fulfill the requirements of the application.

Scripting technologies for Web Service interaction are not new, and WSCI is not the only standard to have been proposed in the past. Intalio, which produces application infrastructure software and developed much of the WSCI specification, has been using a technology related to WSCI in products that it already sells. Other vendors, including IBM and Microsoft, use a variety of technologies that orchestrate or "choreograph" this interaction: IBM's MQ Series Workflow tool uses a specification called Web Services Flow Language (WSFL), while Microsoft uses a proprietary technology called XLang. Some companies, including Intalio, use a third technology called Business Process Modeling Language BPML.

Is WSCI a Standard, or Is It a Ploy?

It appears that consensus within the industry over the need for the proposed standard is far from unanimous. Why? Because different vendors have already heavily invested in their scripting technologies that have become embedded in their various products--thus the importance that Sun get its proposed standard in front of the developer community before IBM released its latest SDK.

Yet Sun and WSCI's other supporting vendors haven't decided to which industry standard body they might submit the proposed WSCI standard. Sun has indicated it may submit it to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and/or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

This type of press announcement should appear very familiar to those who have worked with Sun Microsystems in the past. For instance, Sun once said that it would submit the Java programming language to a standards committee several years ago. However, that announcement by Sun seemed designed to rally support for Java at a time when Microsoft's hegemony in languages was particularly threatening. Later, Sun backed away from its commitment to making Java an international standard when those standards bodies insisted that Sun relinquish proprietary control. Sun dropped the proposal altogether when Microsoft began losing its legal battles with Sun over licensing Sun's Java technologies.

Heating Up the Web Services Climate

It's still too early to know if the introduction of the WSCI proposed standard is designed to steal thunder from IBM's open-source strategy and its announcement of the new SDK. However, by moving the debate from current open-source Web Services standards to new ground, Sun and its compatriots are revealing how hot they feel the climate of competition in this technology has become.

Thomas M. Stockwell is the Editor in Chief of MC Press, LLC. He has written extensively about program development, project management, IT management, and IT consulting and has been a frequent contributor to many midrange periodicals. He has authored numerous white papers for iSeries solutions providers. His most recent consulting assignments have been as a Senior Industry Analyst working with IBM on the iSeries, on the mid-market, and specifically on WebSphere brand positioning. He welcomes your comments about this or other articles and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

"May you live in interesting times" is an old blessing that might well describe the continuing chaos of Web Services technologies provided by various purveyors of middleware. As the technology blossoms, vendors are rushing to integrate the latest technologies into their toolkits or--if the competition becomes too hot--to propose new Web Services standards at the drop of a hat.

So it seems that Sun Microsystems is attempting to outmaneuver IBM's WebSphere Web Services strategy by proposing new standards on the eve of IBM's latest release of its software developer kit (SDK). Watching the competing press releases fly off the Web will soon require a unique Web Services application all by itself.

Utilizing Web Services: New IBM WebSphere SDK Available

On June 27, IBM announced the availability of a new SDK for WebSphere. This free SDK, which is available at the IBM developerWorks Web site, is based on the open standards of Extensible Markup Language (XML); Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP); Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI); and Web Services Description Language (WSDL ).

The new SDK weaves together tools and the core runtime infrastructure that most developers will need to design, build, and test Java-based Web Services. IBM says that the resulting services can be deployed to any open Web Services platform.

The WebSphere SDK for Web Services includes the following:

  • A lightweight WebSphere Application Server (WAS) runtime environment for Web services
  • The IBM SDK for Java Technology, Version 1.3.1
  • The UDDI4J-WSDL API to interface with a UDDI registry to publish and bind Web Services
  • A private UDDI registry that is compliant with UDDI Version 2
  • An entry-level database that provides a JDBC implementation
  • SDK installation instructions for service providers or consumers
  • Demos that can publish a service and then use a client that talks to the UDDI registry to find the service and invoke it
  • Documentation about the Web Services architecture, UDDI, and WSDL specifications
  • Sample code for Web Services operations
  • BAT/Script files to configure and set up demos and sample applications
  • Documentation on how to use the WebSphere SDK for Web Services
  • Web Services Conceptual Architecture white paper

IBM says that the WebSphere SDK for Web Services is designed for use in both a Linux and a Windows OS environment, but future versions will support the Web Services Interoperability Organization's (WS-I) upcoming profiles and scenarios. (WS-I is an open, industry organization that promotes Web Services interoperability across platforms, operating systems, and programming languages.)

Donated Web Services Technologies to the Open-Source Community

IBM has also stressed the openness of its new SDK. It says that it has donated the source code for two additional Web Services technologies to the Apache community of open-source software projects. These technologies--the Web Services Invocation Framework (WSIF) and Web Services Inspection Language for Java (WSIL4J)--are said to complement existing Web Services technologies in Apache to further promote development in the open-source community.

WSIF is a technology used for invoking services described in WSDL across various network protocols, such as SOAP, Java Message Service (JMS), and Remote Method Invocation (RMI).

WSIL4J is designed to allow Java programmers to access and use Web Services Inspection language (WS-Inspection) documents on a Web site. IBM and Microsoft co-developed this WS-Inspection specification to define how an application can inspect a Web site for available Web Services. The technologies for these two donations to the open-source community can be downloaded from the Apache site.

New Web Services Standard Proposed by Sun

Meanwhile, on June 26--amid the rumors that IBM was soon to release its new SDK--Sun Microsystems, SAP, BEA Systems, and Intalio announced yet one more Web Services specification standard. This proposed specification is called Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI). WSCI will be designed to interact with Web Services to create a scripting mechanism for developers to describe the sequence and structure by which multiple Web Services interact in an orderly manner. WSCI will be based upon the XML data format. The proposed WSCI specification is available as a free download from the Intalio Web site.

Scripting the interaction between Web Services becomes increasingly significant as applications make more sophisticated use of multiple Web Services to fulfill the requirements of seamless integration. For instance, information developed by the integration from one Web Service may be required to interact with a second Web Service in order to fulfill the requirements of the application.

Scripting technologies for Web Service interaction are not new, and WSCI is not the only standard to have been proposed in the past. Intalio, which produces application infrastructure software and developed much of the WSCI specification, has been using a technology related to WSCI in products that it already sells. Other vendors, including IBM and Microsoft, use a variety of technologies that orchestrate or "choreograph" this interaction: IBM's MQ Series Workflow tool uses a specification called Web Services Flow Language (WSFL), while Microsoft uses a proprietary technology called XLang. Some companies, including Intalio, use a third technology called Business Process Modeling Language BPML.

Is WSCI a Standard, or Is It a Ploy?

It appears that consensus within the industry over the need for the proposed standard is far from unanimous. Why? Because different vendors have already heavily invested in their scripting technologies that have become embedded in their various products--thus the importance that Sun get its proposed standard in front of the developer community before IBM released its latest SDK.

Yet Sun and WSCI's other supporting vendors haven't decided to which industry standard body they might submit the proposed WSCI standard. Sun has indicated it may submit it to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and/or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

This type of press announcement should appear very familiar to those who have worked with Sun Microsystems in the past. For instance, Sun once said that it would submit the Java programming language to a standards committee several years ago. However, that announcement by Sun seemed designed to rally support for Java at a time when Microsoft's hegemony in languages was particularly threatening. Later, Sun backed away from its commitment to making Java an international standard when those standards bodies insisted that Sun relinquish proprietary control. Sun dropped the proposal altogether when Microsoft began losing its legal battles with Sun over licensing Sun's Java technologies.

Heating Up the Web Services Climate

It's still too early to know if the introduction of the WSCI proposed standard is designed to steal thunder from IBM's open-source strategy and its announcement of the new SDK. However, by moving the debate from current open-source Web Services standards to new ground, Sun and its compatriots are revealing how hot they feel the climate of competition in this technology has become.

Thomas M. Stockwell is the Editor in Chief of MC Press, LLC. He has written extensively about program development, project management, IT management, and IT consulting and has been a frequent contributor to many midrange periodicals. He has authored numerous white papers for iSeries solutions providers. His most recent consulting assignments have been as a Senior Industry Analyst working with IBM on the iSeries, on the mid-market, and specifically on WebSphere brand positioning. He welcomes your comments about this or other articles and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS