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

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

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.”

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