IBM is to propose a new web services interoperability profile for dealing with asynchronous business-to-business messages, which could represent a new direction for the organization to go higher up the web services technology stack.
IBM is soon to put forward a new web services interoperability profile.
After a somewhat stormy birth four years ago, web services interoperability (WS-I) has become one of the success stories in the web services standards world. Its role is devising profiles, or test cases, for determining if web services middleware from different vendors are truly interoperable.
IBM is expected to propose the Reliable Asynchronous Messaging Profile, RAMP, at this year’s first major WS-I gathering. RAMP will consist of snippets of three recent or pending web services standards: WS-Addressing, WS-ReliableMessaging, and WS-SecureConversation.
IBM developed the proposed RAMP profile in conjunction with Ford and Chrysler, and has recently drawn backing from other customers, including Citibank.
WS-I profiles are not standards per se, but test cases that vendors accept as their standard for testing the interoperability of their web services middleware products. To keep the tests manageable, they do not necessarily exercise every aspect of the technology stack.
Arguably, the strength of WS-I is that it has stuck to its knitting with a couple of very basic interoperability profiles, the Basic Profile and the Basic Security Profile, and has therefore drawn virtually universal industry support. The weakness is that WS-I’s lowest common denominator approach has caused the organization to stay behind the times.
For instance, the Basic Profile does not even test for the latest version of UDDI, which is supported in most current registry products. And in four years, it only has only finalized one profile, although it is close to finishing the second.
Consequently, IBM’s proposal carries risks for the organization as it seeks to introduce testing profiles that are higher up in the web services technology stack.
In fact, one of the pieces of IBM’s RAMP proposal, WS-ReliableMessaging, is not quite a done deal in the standards world. Although ratified by Oasis, there remains a rival, closely related WS-Reliability proposal from Sun, Fujitsu, Oracle and others.
Although RAMP is likely to be a major item on the agenda, however, when to update the Basic Profile to include SOAP 2.0 is likely to be the hot topic when IBM makes its announcement.