Microsoft and IBM remained busy on the standards front, publishing another Web services messaging specification for public review.
WS-MetadataExchange, which defines SOAP request-response message types that retrieve three types of metadata associated with a Web service endpoint, was released for public review late last week. Specifically, the request-response pairs retrieve WS-Policy, WSDL and XML Schema information associated with an endpoint receiving a Web service message, or a given target name space.
The authors, which also include SAP AG, BEA Systems Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., webMethods Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc., will meet Oct. 14 in Sunnyvale, Calif., at webMethods headquarters for a feedback session. There comments and feedback gathered during the public review period will be included in a revision of the specification before it is presented to a standards body for formal ratification, said Andy Astor, vice president of standards and platform strategies for webMethods. Astor is also a board member with WS-Interoperability (WS-I).
"WS-MetadataExchange is a bootstrap mechanism that is easy to use for Web services to find out basic information about each other," Astor said.
On a deeper level, further cooperation on the standards front between Microsoft and Sun continues to take on a higher public profile.
Early this month, Sun joined essentially the same group of vendors in penning the WS-Eventing specification. In August, they also cooperated on the submission of the WS-Addressing spec to OASIS for ratification.
WS-Eventing provides for a standard for asynchronous notification of events between XML-based Web services. It is a set of protocols, message formats and interfaces that allow a Web service to subscribe or accept subscriptions for event notifications. WS-Eventing overlapped with WS-Notification, which is an IBM-Microsoft vendor that blends Web services with grid computing.
"What this says is that Web services are a given," Astor said. "They are a given as the primary mechanism by which computer systems will talk to each other. Web services are part of the landscape, and we are trying to get that landscape in place so that we can eventually move on to differentiation and compensation."
WS-MetadataExchange, meanwhile, is linked to the WS-Addressing spec. WS-Addressing supports SOAP 1.1 and maps message information headers to better exchange patters like request-response requests. WS-MetadataExchange uses these actions to obtain policy and interface information from an endpoint like a sender.
This is the second public version of WS-Metadata Exchange. The first was published March 5.