IBM, CA, Sun Sign Up for WS-Eventing

In a sign of continued convergence in a space where disparate philosophies
have stalled growth, a trio of vendors have
agreed to help update a specification that describes the communication of
events in a Web services architecture.

IBM , CA and Sun Microsystems
joined original authors Microsoft
, BEA and Tibco Software in revamping the Web Services Eventing spec.

WS-Eventing works when a Web service sends a
subscription request to an event or provider, such as a printer, the machine
acknowledges the event, and sends a message back to the subscriber that it
is out of paper.

IBM said on its alphaWorks site that the upgraded WS-Eventing improves the
use of endpoint references in place of subscription ID, thereby enhancing
interoperability. Also, the update features delivery nodes that allow events
to be pushed asynchronously, as well as extensibility points that allow the
possibility of adding other nodes in the future.

A regular ally with Microsoft and BEA in developing Web services
specs, IBM refrained from participating in the
formation of WS-Eventing when it was announced
in January, citing technical differences.

The company chose to work on its own WS-Notifications spec, which it unveiled
two weeks later.

Even now, WS-eventing and WS-Notifications share similarities. IBM said on
its alphaWorks site that WS-Eventing provides similar functionality to that
of WS-BaseNotification, one of the WS-Notification specifications
submitted to an OASIS TC in April 2004.

Still, in January, Karla
Norsworthy, IBM director of Dynamic E-business Technologies,
told that WS-Eventing didn’t mesh with
what IBM was trying to do at that point, noting that Big Blue was following
its own messaging-oriented middleware and grid software schedules, which
employ similar technologies.

Unlike some disparate standards efforts, industry experts were hardly
alarmed at the existence of a similar spec, particularly after IBM and the
WS-Eventing camp left the door open for the possibility of working together. After all, they recognize as much as anyone that customers want compatible specs.

Still, analysts warmly accepted the news.

“IBM [and Sun and CA] joining Microsoft in their WS-Eventing spec is
definitely a major win for Web Services and SOA adoption,” said Ronald Schmelzer, ZapThink
senior analyst. “I think we’re finally seeing convergence
and coalescence on a set of specifications that are gaining market

Schmelzer further said it is important for vendors to agree over how events
and asynchronous publish/subscribe style notifications will happen. Without
such uniformity, he said companies would have to implement a single product
to achieve cross-organizational messaging. WS-Eventing provides interaction
across multiple companies using Web services.

Perhaps even greater news is the idea that Sun, which for years had been at
odds with rivals Microsoft and IBM in Web services standards-making, pledged
its support, making it the second major spec in a month that it is working
with the others on.

Earlier this month, Sun joined
SAP, Microsoft, BEA and IBM in sending the WS-Addressing spec to the W3C.

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