IBM, MS, BEA combine rival web service specs
Peace in our time
Software giants BEA systems Inc, IBM Corp and Microsoft Corp have teamed up on yet another web services standards initiative, announcing the launch of three new specifications to address transacted communications of web services and a new language to describe business processes.
The move is the latest in a series of specifications spearheaded by the three firms and their industry partners in a bid to help drive adoption of web services. The companies are reportedly planning to submit the new specifications to a standards body, but have yet to decide the body they will work with.
The first specification, Business Process Execution Language for web services (BPEL4WS), is an XML-based flow language that defines how business processes interact. It combines and replaces the existing IBM Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) and Microsoft XLANG standards, which were originally created by the companies separately.
BPEL4WS is designed to allow companies to describe complex business processes that can span multiple companies, such as order processing, lead management and claims handling. These business processes can use partner-provided web services, and can also be offered as web services business process functions internally or to partners.
The second specification, WS-Coordination, provides developers with a way to manage the operations related to a business activity. A business process may involve a number of web services working together, and each service needs to be able to coordinate its activities with those of the other services for the process to succeed.
WS-Coordination provides the structure under which coordination can take place. The specification supplies standard mechanisms to create and register with transaction protocols that coordinate the execution of distributed operations in a web services environment.
The last of the three specifications, WS-Transaction, works alongside WS-Coordination and allows business to monitor the success or failure of each specific, coordinated activity in a business process. It allows the business process to react to faults in a web services environment and provides businesses with a transaction protocol to help enable consistent and reliable operations across distributed organizations in a web services environment, the companies said.