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Microsoft, Sun Submit Web Services Drafts to W3C

Engineers at large software companies, such as Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, have created drafts for a key Web services specification under the aegis of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

As a byproduct of the companies' pledge to work together, Microsoft engineer Martin Gudgin and Sun Microsystems engineer Marc Hadley delivered drafts of the Web Services Addressing specification for exchanging messages on networks irrespective of application or transfer protocol.

According to a W3C document, Web Services Addressing consists of a Core, SOAP Binding and WSDL Binding. They define a set of abstract properties and an XML information set to identify Web service sources and endpoints in messages.

A Web service endpoint can be a processor or resource to which Web service messages can be delivered. Endpoint references provide addresses for individual messages sent to and from Web services.

WS-Addressing is crucial to preserving the ability of Web services -- application-to-application communication -- to be shuttled across networks regardless of the technology they're sitting on.

Microsoft and Sun aren't the only vendors working on WS-Addressing, which also has support from IBM, BEA Systems and SAP. But Sun wasn't on board when the spec was introduced by IBM, BEA and Microsoft last year.

But ever since a blockbuster April settlement in which the vendors agreed to work on Web services interoperability, the companies have headed full bore into development work, officially submitting WS-Addressing to the W3C in August.

Last week, Sun and Microsoft unveiled additional details of their broad cooperative efforts for interoperability, including using APIs to make the Windows .NET stack and the Java stack work together.

In related Web services news, Cape Clear, of Waltham, Mass., Thursday said it added BPEL and WS-ReliableMessaging support for its latest enterprise service bus (ESB) , Cape Clear 6. A key vehicle for Web services, ESBs trigger service-oriented architecture by acting as middleware through which business services are offered.

Without BPEL support, Web services could not effectively be used in business transactions without special custom coding. ReliableMessaging guarantees message delivery over the Internet.

While Cape Clear has done a "remarkable" job upgrading the standards support for Cape Clear 6, ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg questioned the company's decision to describe its technology as an ESB.

"Unlike offerings from ESB vendors like Sonic Software, Cape Clear's ESB doesn't come with a messaging infrastructure, instead relying upon a customer's existing infrastructure," Bloomberg told internetnews.com. "Therefore, Cape Clear 6 is really more similar to Blue Titan's fabric approach than to other ESBs on the market. But unlike Blue Titan, Cape Clear doesn't offer enterprise-level scalability out of the box, either."

"Instead, Cape Clear 6 can be installed in a J2EE application server, which would then provide scalability, preventing Cape Clear 6 from being a true stand-alone ESB," he continued.