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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 »