RealTime IT News

Competing Web Services Specs Merge

The furor over two Web services specifications that solve similar problems has apparently dissipated.

E-Business standards body OASIS has agreed to develop WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-Reliability, competing protocols for making sure Web services messages are properly exchanged, under one roof. Message exchange could include purchase orders, driving commerce over the Internet.

Announced in January 2003, WS-Reliability is a standard created by Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and others. It is now a real standard under the aegis of OASIS.

Two months later, BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft and Tibco Software, released WS-ReliableMessaging, a spec with similar goals but different ways to go about them.

The dual release touched off a storm of controversy, with members from each side accusing the other of trying to cause an industry rift.

Yet tensions between the competing vendors have eased of late, springing hope that the war of words between vendors over reliable messaging has ended. Last month, proprietors of WS-ReliableMessaging sent OASIS their 1.0 spec for approval as a standard.

OASIS has formed a technical committee to standardize WS-ReliableMessaging and advance both protocols for safe, clean message delivery. SAP's Sanjay Patil and IBM's Paul Fremantle are the proposed co-chair of the OASIS WS-RX Technical Committee, which includes more than 25 company members.

ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer said reusable services that utilize the fairly inefficient XML standard are becoming a challenge for companies to manage in the runtime, making the reliability specifications the key to drive Web services in the future.

The analyst said that now that both reliability groups are collaborating on a single specification, the potential competition problems have gone away.

"In any case, we'll have to see what the final specification results from the joint activities of all the parties involved," Schmelzer said. "And, for sure, it seems that this OASIS specification will be the de-facto one for the industry once it's created -- there are no longer any real competitors in the market."