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Another consortium creates another spec

Another collection group of techno-companies has added to the alphabet soup of Web services with a newly published spec that's said to let developers ''choreograph'' events and transactions between computers when applications and services are accessed over the Internet. The so-called Web Service Choreography Interface, or WSCI (pronounced ''whiskey'' among its authors), describes the flow of messages exchanged by a Web service in a particular process, and also describes the collective message exchange among interacting Web services, providing a global view of a complex process involving multiple Web services.

The 1.0 specification was drafted by Sun Microsystems, SAP AG, BEA Systems and Intalio Inc., and published last Wednesday. Details can be downloaded from the Web sites of sponsoring companies.

The published definition of the new spec calls WSCI, ''an XML-based interface description language that describes the flow of messages exchanged by a Web service participating in choreographed interactions with other services. WSCI describes the dynamic interface of the Web service participating in a given message exchange by means of reusing the operations defined for a static interface...''

Sun XML Architect Karston Riemer describes WSCI as an interface description language designed to work with such business process languages as BPML and WSDL that can provide a description of the interface without prescribing or precluding any particular implementation of it. ''WSCI enables one programmer basically to write a Web service with whatever implementation he or she prefers,'' Riemer told eADT, ''and to describe it in an unambiguous, standard language, such that another programmer, merely by reading that interface definition, can understand how to use it without having to look at the code behind it.''

The publication of the spec is what Susy Struble, manager of XML industry initiatives at Sun, calls Phase I. ''It's out there for the industry to take a read, give us some feedback and let us know what they think of the ideas we've presented,'' Struble told eADT. ''That's really our driving reason behind this. We want to generate more industry discussion in this area.''

In Phase II, the authors will submit the specification to ''the appropriate'' standards organization, Struble said. She wouldn't identify an organization or when a submission is likely to happen. She did, however, promise that the spec will remain royalty-free.

Meanwhile, Sun has said that it planned to release the test version of a developer tool later this week that would include support for the specification. Called the Sun ONE WSCI Editor, the graphical editing tool should help developers to choreograph a series of transactions in a Web service using WSCI, Sun said.

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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