Is the WSTF one Web services forum too many?

Is the WSTF one Web services forum too many?

IBM and Oracle, among others, back the new organization focused on testing, but questions are raised about redundancies with an existing group

Asked why the new efforts required formation of a whole new industry organization, Norsworthy said the WSTF offers a more lightweight approach to interoperability and enables more customer input. WS-I, she said, has been good for building consensus around a small set of key profiles for everyone to implement. IBM plans to continue its WS-I participation, Norsworthy said.

With WSTF, three or four vendors could propose a scenario for interoperability that could then generate implementations for testing.

"We really do want to make sure we're not [forming a new organization] every time we turn around but we found this to be important and complementary," Norsworthy said. WSTF should add clarity rather than confusion, she stressed.

But absent from the roster of WSTF are WS-I members such as Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. Both were contacted but have not chosen to participate at this point, according to IBM.

Sun and Microsoft noted participation in WS-I when asked why they are not climbing aboard WSTF.

Sun is taking a wait-and-see approach to WSTF, the company said in a statement. "Sun is strongly committed to Web services interoperability and testing. Sun has been a member of WS-I and has been collaborating with Microsoft to ensure .Net and Java Web Services interoperability for some time," Sun said.

Microsoft stressed its WS-I efforts.

"We have not heard customer interest in the creation of new, alternative interoperability organization such as that recommended by the WSTF proposal," said Microsoft's Paul Cotton, group manager for Web services standards and partners, in a statement. "Given the incredible industry-wide momentum and leadership of WS-I, Microsoft has chosen to continue to invest in driving advances in Web services interoperability through existing means. We believe that WS-I provides a proven and open organization and process that best suits our customers' needs."

WSTF efforts, though, can involve Microsoft software endpoints or software from other non-participants, Norsworthy said. The group intends to work with standards bodies to help the standardization process for emerging standards.

An analyst, while acknowledging redundancy between WS-I and WSTF, nonetheless gave nod to the formation of WSTF.

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