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Easter bunny was a foreign concept for me, however I have grown to like it. What is there not to like if someone else hides all these goodies for you and you go on a hunt to collect these hidden treasures, mostly chocolate, to enjoy them? There is always the anticipation that there may be more chocolate eggs hidden somewhere.

I know it is somewhat early to think of the Easter bunny, but somehow lots of specification activity lately regarding Web Services reminded me the bunny and I decided to help you find the specifications in case you missed them.

New Specifications

There are two new specifications that relate to Web Service description and SOAP protocol, SOAP 1.1 Binding for MTOM 1.0 and WSDL 1.1 binding for SOAP 1.2. SAP is an author of both of these specifications.

I consider these specs as “gap-filling” specifications as they fill missing pieces of composition with the existing versions WSDL, SOAP and MTOM attachments. Hence, they are geared to enable usability of the established versions of the WSDL or SOAP specs by filling the composition gap today, especially in helping with the migration to new version of SOAP 1.2 or allowing the usage of the MTOM attachment with SOAP 1.1. The specifications and more details about them can be found in Registration Support FAQ.

Revised Specifications

WS-Policy is a key specification that enables the expression of constraints and capabilities of Web Services. SAP has been an the author of WS-Policy from the beginning.

An updated version of WS-Policy and WS-Policy Attachment have been published in March. This updated version introduces a major improvement, among others, to WS-Policy: Nested policy assertions. Nested assertions allow other assertions to be nested within. Naturally, additional rules in expression normalization are introduced to deal with nesting. Nested assertions arise specifically in the security domain and currently expressed within the WS-SecurityPolicy

Please see the Java EE Technology and Standards Support for these specs in order to download them.

Submissions

This month, three specifications WS-Eventing, WS-Transfer and WS-Enumeration appeared as member submission documents in w3c. It is interesting to note that another specification, WS-Notification, has been developed in OASIS. Subsequently, a convergence roadmap has appeared by companies that have been active on these two fronts. Consolidation in the management and eventing area will be interesting and a fruitful area to follow.

Standardization

Last, but not the least, some of the specifications are making progress towards standardization. In the WS-Addressing family of specifications at w3c, the Core and the SOAP binding specifications now reached the Proposed recommendation status after a very successful interop effort (Kudos to Paul Downey from BT who led the effort) There is one more specification in this family, the WSDL binding document that is a bit lagging behind as interoperability for this spec has not been established yet since it depends on WSDL 2.0. As a co-editor of the WSDL binding spec, I would have liked to see it catching up with its siblings, but it is making progress. Hopefully, it will catch up by summer to complete the whole offering of the building block of WS-Addressing for the rest of the WS stack.

Conclusion

We can see that the holes in the web services stack are being rapidly patched with gap-filling specs, by revision of existing specs or submission of existing specs that are leading to, hopefully, convergence in standards bodies. This blog just covers a snapshot of what is available this month. Thinking of the Easter bunny again, I wonder what else is in stock for us in the near future. After all, Easter bunny is quite fickle and playful. It is always a wonder whether you have found all the chocolate eggs or there are more to come…

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