Wheels are in motion to develop a generic, open framework for next-generation applications that will be developed using several different web services in combination.
The Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis), the industry-funded web services standards forum whose members include Sun, Oracle and Fujitsu, has unveiled plans to develop the framework.
The consortium said that its Web Services Composite Application Framework (WS-CAF) technical committee is working to define a set of royalty-free, interoperable, modular specifications that will enable the development of composite applications, from simple to complex combinations of web services.
"A serious problem remaining in web services standardisation is transactional coordination," explained Mark Little of Oasis member firm Arjuna Technologies, and convenor of the technical committee.
"Web services combined in composite applications require interoperable mechanisms to set the boundaries of an activity, to create, access, and manage context information and to inform participants of changes to an activity."
Martin Chapman of Oracle, proposed co-chair of the committee, added: "We expect WS-CAF specifications will become the building blocks for other web services standards.
"That's why we're taking an incremental, multi-protocol approach, creating a modular stack of specifications. Instead of mandating a single protocol, we want to offer users the option to implement portions of WS-CAF based on their needs."
The Oasis WS-CAF technical committee promised to accept as input the WS-Context, WS-Coordination Framework and WS-Transaction Management specifications published by Arjuna, Fujitsu, Iona, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
Although Microsoft is conspicuous by its absence in the group, the committee said: "Other contributions are welcome on an equal basis."
WS-CAF developers also plan to liaise with efforts of the World Wide Web Consortium, including the XML Protocol, Web Service Architecture, Web Service Description, and Web Service Choreography Working Groups.
WS-CAF specifications will provide Web Service Definition Language definitions for context, coordination, and transactions. Message formats will be specified as secure object access protocol headers and/or body content.
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