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New XML-Based Spec Published

Four companies deeply steeped in the Web Services game Wednesday announced a new XML-based specification they say will help everyone get along better.

The new Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) was co-authored and/or supported by BEA Systems , Intalio, SAP AG , and Sun Microsystems .

The specification is available royalty free for download from each co-editor's Web site: http://dev2dev.bea.com/techtrack/wsci.jsp ; http://www.intalio.com/wsci ; http://ifr.sap.com/wsci ; http://www.sun.com/software/xml.

In a nutshell, the XML-based interface description language describes the flow of messages exchanged by a Web Service participating in choreographed interactions with other services.

WSCI works in conjunction with the Web Service Description Language (WSDL), the basis for the W3C Web Services Description Working Group; it can, also, work with another service definition language that exhibits the same characteristics as WSDL.

The company says the spec does not address the definition and the implementation of the internal processes that actually drive the message exchange. Rather, the goal of WSCI is to describe the observable behavior of a Web Service by means of a message-flow oriented interface.

"Interoperability of Web services needs to extend beyond basic messaging, and WSCI enables Web services to interact with each other in specified ways to accomplish the needs of complex business processes," said Sun Java & XML Technologies vice president and general manager Richard Green.

Not everyone has been impressed with the specification. Jean-Jacques Dubray, chief architect at eXcelon Corp. and project leader of the eCommerce initiative of the Open Applications Group published a personal view on WSCI and says the specification has "very limited applications."

"There is little substance in WSCI to reach the level of a specification," said Dubray. "This is merely a non-refereed paper which look at some deficiencies of the web services specification framework, managed by the W3C, and propose some solution. By contrast, ebXML is a stable set of specifications complementing each other and driven by a global architecture specification. Nobody in ebXML develops "rogue" spec, which main purpose it to make a marketing "coup".

A "coup," because WSCI will compete with Microsoft's XLang and IBM's Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) as well as OASIS and the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI). However, the WSCI partnership may get an leg up on the others because Intalio founded BPMI.

"We share the vision of bridging the gap between business process management and Web services. With its strategic participation in WSCI, Intalio builds on its commitment to open standards," said Intalio co-founder and chief strategy officer Ismael Ghalimi. "Our collective efforts on the WSCI specification will enable customers to more easily and cost-effectively deploy end-to-end processes across value networks."

After a public review period, WSCI will be submitted, on a royalty-free basis, to an industry standards body.