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OASIS starts work on Web services standard

The XML interoperability consortium, OASIS, has outlined plans to create a Web services standard for interactive application access. A newly formed technical committee will develop an OASIS Web Services Component Model (WSCM), which the group says "will provide a coordinated set of XML vocabularies and Web services interfaces that allow companies to deliver Web applications to end users through a variety of channels—directly to a browser, indirectly through a portal or embedded into a third-party Web application."

"Right now, there is no industry standard mechanism for packaging the display component of a Web service," says IBM's Charles Wiecha, chair of the new OASIS WSCM Technical Committee. "WSCM will enable any Web application—a package tracker, a calendar application, a stock quote, anything—to be delivered and displayed to an end user as a Web service, regardless of the underlying Web platform, vendor-specific application format or display device."

The WSCM standard will allow companies to syndicate their applications across different portals and Web site platforms, free of the restrictions of proprietary products, the group says. The standard will allow companies to share Web services dynamically without creating multiple vendor-specific connectors written to different Web languages.

Wiecha said WSCM will be developed in light of standards and specifications issued by OASIS, UN/CEFACT, ISO, W3C and other relevant standards bodies. "We aren't trying to reinvent the Web presentation layer. Our goal is to harmonize WSCM as far as practical with existing Web application programming models (e.g., Portals), the work of the W3C (e.g., XForms, DOM, XML Events, XPath, XLink, XML Component API task force), emerging Web services standards (e.g., SOAP, WSDL, WSFL) and with the work of other appropriate business information bodies."

In the interest of convergence, the OASIS WSCM Technical Committee will consider contributions of related work from other groups and companies. The Web Services User Interface (WSUI), an initiative proposed by a working group of software providers earlier this year (2001), plans to submit their specification to the new OASIS technical committee.

IBM intends to contribute Web Services Experience Language (WSXL), a Web services-centric component model for interactive Web applications, as work to be considered in the OASIS WSCM Technical Committee. (The WSXL reference document is available on IBM's developerWorks site at http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/ws-wsxl/index.html.)

"Much of the work around Web services is focused on giving developers tools to access remote application functions over the Internet," says Karl Best, OASIS director of technical operations. "The OASIS WSCM Technical Committee aims to make those services accessible to the end user. We invite all who would be affected by this standard to participate in our work."

The membership roster of the OASIS WSCM Technical Committee currently includes Cyclone Commerce, DataChannel, Documentum, Epicentric, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Logistics Management Institute, Macromedia, Sterling Commerce, U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and other OASIS Contributors and Individual members.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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