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WS-I Readies Sample Applications for Basic Profile 1.0

The Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization has released sample application released sample application guidelines and implementations that model a Web services supply chain management (SCM) scenario.

Leveraging the features of the Basic Profile 1.0, the documents by the open standards industry group suggest a supply chain management scenario that employs Web services interoperability with different types of software from disparate vendors, from infrastructure providers, such as BEA and Oracle, to applications providers such as SAP and Microsoft.

Interoperability among disparate software vendors is considered by many experts to be a key to breaking down the barriers to adoption of Web services, which allow applications to talk to one another to complete tasks, such as purchase orders. Other stepping stones include security, reliability and manageability.

The WS-I made the announcement at the XML 2003 conference in Philadelphia, where the group will be demonstrating some vendors' implementations. The WS-I Sample Applications Working Group vendors who have tested their software with the model include BEA, Bowstreet, Corillian, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Quovadx, SAP and Sun Microsystems.

SCM is used to reduce inventory, increase the speed of transactions with real-time data exchange, and to increase revenue by satisfying customer demands more efficiently. SCM applications manage the supply chain as a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer, shuttling not only actual products but data about those products, including order status information, payment schedules, and ownership titles.

In the case of the WS-I, the sample application schema provides a bundle of Web services that use the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0. It uses a supply chain scenario that models the interactions between multiple retail storefronts, warehouses and manufacturers, according to Rob Cheng, principle product marketing manager for Web services and emerging standards at Oracle, and WS-I spokesman.

Cheng said working implementation packages might include a Web storefront powered by BEA, with Oracle running the data warehouse. Different vendors' products may be swapped in and out (i.e. BEA WebLogic for IBM WebSphere), Cheng told internetnews.com.

The spec scenarios, which pick up where the publication of the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 left off, translate use cases into a set of technical requirements. They define general messaging patterns for Web services, identify interoperability requirements and align the flow of a scenario with the requirements of the Basic Profile 1.0.

The model is available as a free download. Sinisa Zimek, chairman of the Sample Applications Working Group, said non WS-I members may use the 10 vendors' packages along with technical architecture documents as a starting point, which they may copy and modify to their tastes.

ZapThink Senior Analyst Jason Bloomberg said the delivery of the sample applications will free WS-I up to conduct other interoperability tests.

"Now that these deliverables are off the WS-I's plate, they can focus more specifically on building the interoperability profile for Web Services security -- a tougher problem than basic interoperability, but every bit as important," Bloomberg told internetnews.com.

Looking forward, Cheng said WS-I expects to have a draft version of testing tools the group has been working on ready early next year. The group is also cloose to finalizing attachments and security profiles next year.