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W3C sets standards for SOA and Web 2.0

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced two standards aimed at bringing order to the web.

In early September W3C introduced Web Services Policy 1.5, giving developers a way to connect web services standards such as SOAP 1.2, WSDL 2.0, and XML Schema to new Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) based applications.

And last week it gave a boost to what W3C calls the "semantic web" with the long-awaited announcement of the standard for Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL).

W3C says Web Services Policy 1.5 will make it easier for developers to extend SOA applications without disrupting existing services. It also paves the way for improvements in areas such as transaction security, message reliability, and metadata processing - all areas in which the web has been criticised in the past.

The standard is timely against a mixed background of activity for SOA. On one hand the SOA Consortium announced last week that it had attracted 50 members in its first six months.

But a new UK survey from the Evaluation Centre notes that there is still a big gap between what SOA promises and real-world results.

The survey found that 88 per cent of the sample still faced problems with integrating systems to build SOA applications and that only 10 per cent of businesses fully understand what SOA can do.

While the W3C Web Services Policy 1.5 standard is squarely aimed at aligning traditional enterprise computing with the service model offered by the web, the GRDDL (yes, it is officially pronounced "griddle") standard is aimed more at so-called social networking applications and mashups. It is likely, however, that it will have long-term implications in enterprise computing too.

GRDDL defines how metadata may be extracted from web page "microformats" such as HTML, XML, and CSS and fed into other applications. W3C has set up a test service for GRDDL here. ®

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