WS-I Publishes Basic Profile 1.0

Nearly 10 months after releasing a working draft, the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization Tuesday hit another milestone in its ongoing effort to help enterprises sort our Web services specifications with the general availability of the Basic Profile 1.0.


The organization announced the Basic Profile at the XML Web Services One conference in Boston.

Now formally approved by the WS-I membership, the Basic Profile consists of implementation guidelines on how to use core Web services specifications together to develop interoperable Web services. The profile covers SOAP 1.1 , WSDL 1.1 , UDDI 2.0 , XML 1.0 , and XML Schema .


The intent of the Basic Profile is to cover:

  • Messaging: the exchange of Web service protocol elements, usually over a network
  • Description: the enumeration of the messages associated with a Web service, along with implementation details
  • Discovery: metadata that enables the advertisement of a Web service’s
    capabilities

  • Security: mechanisms that provide integrity, privacy, authentication
    and authorization.


“Starting today, every Web service developer and provider will have a
common framework for implementing interoperable solutions, and buyers will
have a common reference point for purchasing decisions,” Tom Glover,
chairman of WS-I, said in a statement. “WS-I has resolved more than 200
interoperability issues associated with using the core Web services
specifications together. The Basic Profile 1.0 will significantly simplify
the task of implementing interoperable Web services solutions within and
across enterprise boundaries.”

Rob Cheng, principle product marketing manager for Web services and
emerging standards at Oracle, and WS-I spokesman, told
internetnews.com that the engineers who hashed out the basic profile
initially found about 250 interoperability issues involved in using the
five core specifications together.

“When they first got together, the working group decided to start from the
bottom up,” he said.


Cheng noted that between 150 and 180 of those issues were “relatively easy
and straight forward.” But, he said, “There were other issues that took
more time. There was a lot of discussion over how to handle the error
handling and fault handling.”

Part of the problem was the extensibility and flexibility built into the
specifications. While that means that there are many ways to use the
specifications to handle various problems, it also means that if vendors
don’t agree on standard ways to handle those issues, their products are not
likely to interoperate with each other.

Once the basic plumbing is in place, Cheng said the business value is
clear. First, products that conform with the Basic Profile improve
productivity because the companies working with the specifications can
focus on their core competencies, rather than worrying about basic
plumbing.

Secondly, for organizations looking to implement Web services, it reduces
risk. “A lot of the Web services customers that we talked to, they really
had this huge phobia of being the first company to jump onto the ‘Beta’
format while everyone else, next year, goes onto VHS,” Cheng said. “If they
all agree on a common set of basic guidelines, they don’t have to worry
about this plumbing.”

Finally, Cheng said the Basic Profile simplifies buying decisions because
vendors whose products are compliant with the Basic Profile will be able to
carry the WS-I logo.

“If both have the WS-I logo, there’s a very good chance that these two
products from two different vendors will work together,” Cheng said.

“Support for the Basic Profile is the baseline for interoperable Web
services,” said Dan Sholler, vice president of Technology Research Services
at the META Group. “Customers should demand that all of their Web
services-enabled technology be compliant with the Basic Profile, and that
in turn will lay the foundation for Web services to fulfill their promise
and provide technology independent interoperability.”


Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst with XML research firm ZapThink, and
moderator of the WS-I panel at the XML Web Services One conference Tuesday,
said the Basic Profile is also a critical litmus test for WS-I as an
organization.

“What is most important about the WS-I Basic Profile is not just the
content itself (although what they are hoping to standardize from an
interoperability perspective is incredibly important), but rather the fact
that this is the first Profile that the WS-I will release,” Schmelzer told
internetnews.com.

“How this profile is adopted among end users and
software vendors, and how it’s used in the context of the ever-increasing
set of specifications will determine how successful the WS-I is in the
long-term. Thus, the WS-I must do all it can to make sure the Basic Profile
is adopted and used as widely used as possible. If they can get this
Profile adopted across all end user types and within the vendors of Web
Services software and solutions, then it bodes well for future Profile
releases, which will be much more complex than this Basic Profile.”

The Basic Profile will be followed by Test Tools and Sample Applications
this fall.


The WS-I logo program will roll out with the Test Tools (which will be
available in both C# and Java implementations), which are designed to
inspect and validate that a Web service meets the interoperability
requirements of the Basic Profile.

WS-I is not looking to become a certification organization, and Cheng said
enterprises that use the WS-I logo will bear the burden of proof when it
comes to conformance.


“We don’t do testing of it,” he said. “We expect enforcement of that brand
to be market-driven. We suspect no one wants to be the first person to be
called on for making a bad claim.”

Schmelzer added, “As they establish the value of the WS-I Profiles,
hopefully software vendors will realize that it’s in their best interests
to make sure they are all truly interoperable. Having the WS-I produce a
means by which end-users can verify interoperability will be one way to
prove to the public that they are not just capable of producing agreements
on paper, but also are capable of policing the growing spec universe. As
the WS-I tackles more tricky Profiles, such as security, management, and
process, their credibility will become of the utmost importance. So, this
Basic Profile is a critical litmus test for the organization. If they can
make it here, it bodes well. If not, they’ll have serious challenges ahead
of them.”

IBM Monday told internetnews.com that its WebSphere Studio product
will be the first tool from a major vendor to support Basic Profile 1.0.

The Sample Applications will include the design, implementation, test and
deployment of Web services, based on selected business scenarios and
implemented on 10 different platforms.

Looking ahead, Cheng said the next step in WS-I’s roadmap will be
interoperability guidelines for SOAP with Attachments, followed by the
Basic Security Profile. Cheng said both would likely be released in first
draft versions by the end of this year or early next year.

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