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New W3C activities

The W3C kicked off two new important work groups today, WS-Addressing and Compound Documents Formats. I can tell you that you will see SAP active in the WS-Addressing WG for sure, the other we at least have our eye on.

WS-Addressing Submitted to the W3C so I’m not going to rehash it again. What is important about today’s announcement is that rather than just acknowledging the member submission from SAP and others of WS-Addressing is that the W3C has formed a work group to formalize the submission as a standard. The work group is chartered through February 2006, and yes Virginia if I’m realistic I do think it will take that long. A lot of companies have strong opinions on this topic and I expect that this work will likely be harder to come to a standard that we can all agree on than it should be, but that’s how this process works. This work group is not going to just “rubber stamp” the WS-Addressing submission. If you are interested in how this work will proceed I would recommend that you review the charter for the WS-Addressing work group. They could not have found a better chair for the group, Mark Nottingham from BEA. He is well respected by all of the interested parties on both sides of the contested issues, hopefully that will help him in getting the rest of us to act like adults and less like bickering vendors.

The other work group announced today, Compound Documents Formats, is a bit harder to explain. Again I’ll refer you to the charter of the work group for an overview of the activity. Basically what this will address is the combination of document formats in single documents, i.e. SVG embedded in SMIL embedded in XHTML. The group will look at usage scenarios for requirements, initially with a focus on mobile applications where this is a real problem today. Oh the problem? The unexpected. Sometimes things that were not designed together even though they are all based on XML do not necessarily compose well together. To solve this may require best practices and possibly even restrictions on specs when used together. Does this sound familiar? It should. It sounds like a WS-I Profile. So what’s the difference? Well for one this activity will only address W3C specifications (the WS-I has no such restriction) and the other is that the XML formats being examined are for documents, not web services.

The Compound Documents Formats work group was formed in response to a workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents (here is SAP’s position paper for the workshop). I’m pointing this out to show you that this is another way that new activities get started at the W3C in addition to member submissions of specifications like WS-Addressing. This is exciting as next week there is a work shop that I and Claus Von Riegen (from the Walldorf branch of the NetWeaver standards team) will attend on Constraints and Capabilities for Web services, or to put it another way policies. Right now I can’t think of a more important next step in web service standardization than providing a common interoperable format for expressing policies of web services (keep in mind I think security has been addressed already). If you want to know more about SAP’s position on this topic though be sure to check out our position paper for this workshop.

Finally, just because I don’t feel like making a separate post on this I’ll mention that an article by myself and Claus on an Overview of Web Service Interoperability was published on SDN this week. If you need an introduction to that subject check it out.

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