Web services standards near critical point, says Gartner

XML-based standards being developed by multiple standards bodies, and currently in various iterations and levels of maturity, have become the bane of the Web services developer.

However, while acknowledging that "standards bodies are notoriously slow," Gartner analysts believe the situation will improve in the next five years.

Currently, developers should work with "fully baked" basic Web services standards, such as SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, Charles Abrams, research director at Gartner, told attendees at the analyst firm's recent Application Integration & Web Services Summit. Other key standards for security, orchestration and/or choreography from OASIS and the W3C are expected to reach maturity in the next three years.

"We think most of these standards will be complete by 2007," Abrams predicted.

Among Gartner's predictions for this decade is the evolution from Web services for integration to Web services for e-commerce and e-business.

"Get ready for a boom [in Web services e-business] in 2007," Abrams told IT managers and developers attending the conference in Los Angeles.

Key to that boom is WS-BPEL, the Business Process Execution Language that IBM and Microsoft initially developed and have now turned over to OASIS. Along with WS-Coordination (WS-C) and WS-Transaction (WS-T) these standards will be needed to make the transaction processing work in B2B Web services, said Abrams.

He noted that the W3C has created a competing standard for choreography of B2B Web services interactions and transactions, but said Gartner believes the W3C will defer to OASIS on this issue.

As for security, Gartner is recommending use of the existing standards, Kerberos, PKI and SSL for now, and looking forward to the maturity of WS-Security and SAML by 2009.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.