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STAR Publishes Yearly Release Train

Written by dcarver on May 20, 2010 – 1:28 pm

Standards are one of those things where they seem to take years to release.   Most organizations tend to release every couple of years and then only a few of the standards may have had new information.   However because of the time lag involved, many users tend to extend the standard to meet their immediate needs.    While STAR releases once a year to the public, STAR members can get immediate updates, evening nightly depending on their needs.   Other standards organizations like OAGIs are starting to do releases twice a year to meed their communities needs.   This is something that STAR may need to look into in the coming years.

The 2010 release includes changes from STAR members that cover additional requirements for Marine, Heavy Duty Truck, and Automotive.    In addition, the STAR Web Services Transport package now includes to levels of compliance.  STAR Level 1 and STAR Level 2.   The goal of the compliance rules are to promote interoperability of the transport.   The prior versions allowed too many items open to interpretation, and created a wide variety of one-off-implementations.  Through the hard work of several member companies, the new STAR transport was created to help alleviate this problem, and promote a truly interoperable transport.

The new specifications become effective July 4, 2010.


Posted in STAR, architecture workgroup, bods, community, transport, web services | 1 Comment »

STAR Releases Update Web Services Specification

Written by dcarver on July 16, 2009 – 6:24 am

With yesterday’s approval and release of the STAR Transport specification documents, STAR has listened to members and the community to help create a more interoperable specification. The STAR Web Service specification received in some ways a much needed refreshing.

The specification has not changed much in the last 4 years. However since the time that it was in production many things have changed within the web services world.

  • STAR has both members and non-member implementation experience to draw upon. This helps give us real world interoperability experience to gauge how well the specification is meeting its goals.
  • Many of the standards that were recommended in the prior version were draft standards. These have since moved out of draft status and into official recommendations.
  • Tooling support has been greatly enhanced and evolved. Many of the older specifications are no longer supported by current tooling.

Interoperability:

One area that has been hard to maintain with out a strict profile is the goal of deploying the web service once, and having it work with out change amongst a variety of trading partners. The reason for this is that the old specification allowed a lot of wiggle room in its interpretation. To help with interoperability the latest specification to has addressed the following:

  • Documented a set of REQUIRED rules that STAR Web Services must implement. The current specification addresses the STAR Level 1 compliance rules. Work is under way for more advanced features called STAR Level 2.
  • Updated the specifications to the most current approved standards. All STAR Level 1 requirements are supported by the existing tooling and frameworks.
  • REQUIRED compliance to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.1.
  • NOTE: That STAR WS 4.0 is not backwards compatible with STAR WS 3.0 implementations. Namespaces for many of the required specifications have changed as well as the STAR Transport namespace.

Interoperability Testing:

STAR also joined the WSTF group this last year. WSTF provides a forum where tooling vendors and implementers can work together on specific web service implementations. STAR will be proposing some use case scenarios to the WSTF to have web service endpoints setup to test both the STAR Generic Transport as well as the BOD Specific transports. By publishing these endpoints, STAR Members and Community adopters can test their implementations for interoperability against various implementations. It is the hope that by providing these end points an unofficial verification can be made that an implementation should be interoperable with another.

STAR Level 2:

The Architecture Workgroup is currently addressing some more advance use case scenarios and will be documenting these under STAR Level 2 requirements. An important note is that a STAR Level 2 implementation must be able to fall back and inter-operate with a STAR Level 1 implementation. STAR Level 2 will be addressing items like:

  • WS-ReliableMessaging
  • WS-Addressing
  • WS-Policy
  • Attachments with MTOM
  • WS-Security with Digital Certificates for Authentication.
  • Leveraging the latest approved specifications from WS-I on WS-Security and Reliable and Secure profiles.

What about ebXML?

This is a topic on the radar for STAR over the next year. ebMS 3.0 is now released, and STAR needs some feedback on whether current implementers are going to migrate to ebMS 3.0 or if they plan to stay on ebMS 2.0. ebMS is a victim of its own success in some ways. This is due in many ways to its stability and interoperability of the specification. Migration may be slow to ebMS 3.0 due to the fact that ebMS 2.0 just seems to work.

Please check out the latest specifications and feel free to comment or send us feedback on the latest specifications. We can only make sure we are addressing community needs if we hear back from the community.


Posted in STAR, architecture workgroup, interoperability, standards, transport, web services | No Comments »

Web Services: The Importance of Interoperability

Written by dcarver on April 1, 2009 – 8:27 am

In our recent announcement about the STAR 2009 Transport package, we talked a bit about some of the upcoming changes. Most of these changes are coming about because existing implementations are not interoperable. The original goal of the STAR Web Services specification was to provide a common way to implement the web services, so that there would not be different flavors. However, the reality of the situation is that the current specification leaves too much open to interpretation. This is causing the very problem we tried to address, one off implementations.

Another thing has happened since the document was originally written, the web service specifications have evolved. Many have moved out of draft status and into recommendation or released status. Many of the approved specification namespaces have changed. Frameworks distributed by tools that are used to build the web services have evolved and upgraded as well. So STAR is working to address the issue and bring the web services specification up to date.

This will mean breaking backwards compatibility with existing implementations. There is no way around it if we are to try to address the issue of interoperability and framework support. Also, there will be a tightening of the requirements for an interoperable service. To help with this, STAR has created a two-tiered approach. STAR Level 1 and STAR Level 2 requirements.

STAR Level 1 requirements are the basic requirements and will affect all implementations. The STAR Level 2 requirements cover things like WS-ReliableMessaging, Addressing, MTOM, and other more advanced features. It is the hope that by clearly specifying what is to be supported, and working with groups like the WSTF, we can help ease the pain and help increase the reuse of the web service. Particularly from a client implementation standpoint. If the service is implemented the same by all parties, the same client code can be used to access it.

I’ll provide some more views on what is happening in the coming months. As always, I encourage community members to provide us with feedback. I’ll take that input back to the group that is working on the profile and make sure your voice is heard. Please leave comments here.


Posted in STAR, interoperability, open standards, transport, web services | No Comments »

The Transport Package for 2009

Written by dcarver on March 22, 2009 – 6:43 pm

With true dedication from STAR members the Transport Package 2009 Release 1 has been published for everyone to utilize. The documents contained in this package are great tools to help with implementation, interoperability and maintainability of IT Infrastructures to define standards for XML BOD transport that meets the requirements of Automotive OEMs, RSPs (Retail Service Provider) and Dealerships . The three documents included are:

  • Transport Guidelines – a high level requirements and recommendations document
  • Web Services Guidelines – implementation details for using Web services specifications
  • ebMS Guidelines – implementation details for using the ebXML Message Services specification

In the coming months the Architecture WG which is comprised of several STAR members will work diligently to get the latest and greatest Transport Package out to the public. This release is slated for August 2009. A few of the changes you will see will be:

  • Addition of MTOM specifications
  • Updates to several areas of the Web Services Specification
  • Re-organization of content
  • Large File Handling specifications

Posted in STAR, interoperability, transport, web services | No Comments »

STAR Joins the Web Services Test Forum

Written by dcarver on March 2, 2009 – 11:50 am

Updated March 17, 2009: Added quote from Karla Norsworthy, VP, IBM.

STAR has joined the recently formed WSTF organization. The WSTF provides a place where various use case scenarios for Web Services implementations can be tested. This is different and goes beyond just specifying the profiles and specifications implemented by the various tooling vendors. This provides real world scenarios and usages that implementers and vendors run into. The flexibility that the various Web Service specifications provides, also provide interoperability concerns as well. Implementation and compliance to the WS-I profiles goes a long way to getting interoperability but stops short of the actual testing.

Since 2003 STAR has supported two main transport methods for its data standards. ebXML and Web Services. STAR has a specific set of specifications that it recommends for implementing its web services profile. However, over the years what we have seen is that the community that has adopted the STAR web service specification has implemented it in slightly different ways. This causes interoperability issues and one off implementations. These one off implementations occur because there is no central place for members to verify their implementations.

STAR plans to work with members of WSTF in helping to provide testable end points for its web services specification. This will not be a certification program, but a voluntary way that an adopter can test their implementation for specific scenarios. To help address some of the interoperability concerns, STAR will be releasing in the coming year a set of profiles that outline the items that MUST be supported. There will be two such profiles:

  • STAR Level 1 – the minimum that must be supported. Including support for the WS-I basic profile, and Basic Security Profiles.

  • STAR Level 2 – support for more advanced features such as WS-Reliable Messaging, WS-Addressing, MTOM, WS-Security (digital certificates), and other enterprise level features.

“The partnership between STAR Standards and the Web Services Test Forum will enable both communities to expand their roles in the auto industry’s use of web services,” said Karla Norsworthy, Vice President of Industry Standards for IBM. “WSTF delivers a web services testing infrastructure for STAR to leverage and to improve the interoperability of Web Services for use by automotive retailers.”

STAR looks forward to working with existing tooling vendors like IBM, Oracle, and others. This collaboration will help current and future STAR adopters to have interoperable web service implementations. Reducing or eliminating one of the barriers to implementation.


Posted in bods, community, interoperability, transport, web services | 2 Comments »

Where do I find…..

Written by dcarver on January 24, 2009 – 10:29 am

One of the questions we receive while at the NADA Convention is where more information in regards to working with the standards can be found. We have most of this information available freely to the user community on the STAR web site. Some of it may not be as easy to find as it should be, so here are a few places to look.

  • STAR Technical Articles – This covers topics ranging from how to use the Web Service Interopability tools for the WS-I.org. As well as topics regarding security and digital certificates.
  • STAR BOD FAQs – Many questions in regard to databinding, and parsing of XML and working with XML Schemas can be found on the FAQ page. One topic that comes up frequently is the performance of validation. The page contains some links to information on how Validation can be improved and implemented. In particular, some sample code on how to implement a grammar pool with Xerces is included.
  • Press Releases and Conference Presentations – STAR presents at various technical conferences from time to time. Including how we use Agile Development techniques to develop the STAR standard.

The latest approved versions of the STAR XML Schemas, Transport, and Dealership Infrastructure Guidelines can always be found on the STAR website. The STAR website is a great resource for the community, it contains much more than just a place to retrieve the standards we develop. If you have thoughts on how we can improve the web site to make it easier to find the information you need, please let us know.


Posted in agile, bods, dealership, transport | No Comments »