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Web Services Basic Profile for Industry and J2EE 1.4.

By Gavin Clarke

The delayed next release of server-side Java came a step closer yesterday after an industry body released specifications to ensure interoperability between web services.

The Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization released Basic Profile 1.0, specifying interoperability between SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, UDDI 2.0, XML 1.0 and XML Schema.

WS-I's Basic Profile is the first set in a body of work the organization says will help ensure interoperability between web services standards that have been implemented by competing vendors. Work is also planned for interoperability of web services security specifications and SOAP attachments, with drafts of each due by the year's end.

Yesterday's Basic Profile announcement, though, also means Sun Microsystems Inc's latest server edition of Java, Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4, can now proceed to market, with the specification's final publication expected by the end of December.

Sun and Java Community members postponed the most recent proposed release date of the already delayed J2EE 1.4, in an attempt to ensure the specification was in lock-step with the industry's latest web services specifications.

In June 2001, taking heat for failing to articulate a Java web services strategy, Sun promised native support for XML in J2EE 1.3 and 1.4 to position Java for the "next wave" of web services specifications.

Sun expects a number of vendors to launch sample J2EE 1.4 applications during in coming months as the Java Community Process (JCP) completes final release of Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs) and reference implementations for certification.

The WS-I is, meanwhile, also planning a set of test tools and sample applications for Java and Microsoft Corp's C Sharp will be made available in the next few months.

However, WS-I will not orchestrate or co-ordinate a testing regime for vendors to certify their products are compatible with the Basic Profile. Instead, the organization is relying on goodwill and market pressure to drive certification, hoping ISVs will not want to risk the shame of having a planned WS-I logo removed from them.

Rob Cheng, Oracle's senior product manager for web services and emerging standards and a WS-I member, said: "We expect enforcement to be market driven, by competitors, reviewers and media.

He called the creation of a certification system an expensive overhead.

Sun, though, believes its own JCP-driven certification process can step in to help ensure conformity, in Java at-least, by embedding the Basic Profile 1.0 into the J2EE platform specification. Under JCP rules, J2EE 1.4 vendors must need to undergo testing using the TCK and reference implementations, ensuring they are conformant with the platform.

Mark Hapner, distinguished engineer and chief web services strategist for Sun and the company's WS-I board representative, said: "We are efficient at taking on the role of WS-I certification."

Interoperability is a fundamental issue, and one of the largest issues in Basic Profile 1.0 has been an attempt to ensure consistency in fault handling and error handling between Java and .NET web services. "If you can't communicate what the fault is, you don't know what to do," Cheng said.

He believes the Basic Profile will mean vendors correctly implement SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, UDDI 2.0, XML 1.0 and XML Schema in products, themselves, so users don't need to build out what is regarded as basic infrastructure.

Hapner, said the Basic Profile would be integrated into J2EE's component model, viewed as fundamental building block of Java web services, to support web services' truly "global computing model."

"Instead of having to compose to the portal level, developers will be able to compose functionally, building loosely coupled individual services," Hapner said.
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Author:Clarke, Gavin
Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 13, 2003
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