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SOA standards WS-Policy, SCA and SDO advancing rapidly

Emerging SOA standard WS-Policy 1.5 is a proposed recommendation at W3C, while technical committees form to standardize Service Component Architecture (SCA) and Service Data Objects (SDO) at OASIS.

Emerging service-oriented architecture (SOA) specifications are moving closer to becoming standards.

People who are experts on policy are not necessarily the same people who would be working on the language bindings.
Jeff Mischkinsky
DirectorOracle Fusion Middleware

WS-Policy 1.5 reached proposed recommendation status this week in the W3C standards process, and at OASIS technical committees are forming this month to work on Service Component Architecture (SCA). Another OASIS technical committee for the C and C++ versions of Service Data Objects (SDO) specification is expected to form later this month and coordinate with work being done on the Java version of SDO in the Java Community Process (JCP).

While work is expected to begin on standardizing SCA and SDO in September at OASIS, Web Services Policy 1.5 will be nearing a final vote for approval as a W3C standard by then.

"We are asking our members to review and endorse the specification," said Philippe Le Hégaret, W3C architecture domain leader of Web Services Policy 1.5, which reached "Proposed Recommendation" status in the standards body this week. "After their endorsement, if it is positive, it will become a W3C recommendation. We expect it to become a recommendation at the beginning of September."

At that point, the next step would be a vote of W3C members to approve WS-Policy 1.5 as a standard. This would be a culmination of an effort that began when WS-Policy, which had been a vendor specification supported by both IBM and Microsoft, entered the W3C process in April 2006.

While work on the policy specification itself is done, according to Le Hégaret, the W3C working group assigned to it is working on documentation to help developers deploy it.

"The group is finishing two documents," he said. "One is the primer, an introduction to the WS-Policy 1.5 specification. The second one is the guidelines for policy insertions. When you define an extension using Web services and you want to take advantage of the policy framework the second document will help you define a policy insertion."

The documentation is scheduled to be completed in the fall as Web Services Policy 1.5 moves to the final approval process, Le Hégaret said. He added that while not officially approved, the specification already has been implemented and tested by the vendors supporting it including IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

As final approval for Web Service Policy 1.5 nears in September, work will be beginning at OASIS on SCA and SDO.

This month, six technical committees are forming in OASIS to work on various components of SCA, said Jeff Mischkinsky, director of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Web services standards at Oracle Corp., and chair of the OASIS Open Composite Services Architecture (CSA) Member Section. The CSA Member Section was formed in April after OASIS accepted the SCA and SDO specifications from a vendor group led by IBM, Oracle Corp., SAP AG and BEA Systems Inc. in March.

Charters are being reviewed for the six technical committees or TCs, which include:

Breaking the work on SCA into six parts helps spread the heavy lifting required to move the vendor specification to an OASIS standard, Mischkinsky said.

"One it's a lot of work," he explained, "and two there are different areas of expertise, so you wouldn't expect people who are C and C++ experts to be working on Java bindings. People who are experts on policy are not necessarily the same people who would be working on the language bindings. There's obviously overlap and coordination to make sure it all is one unified program of work."

For more information
ZapThink: SCA and JBI bring nothing to the SOA table

The WS-Policy Story

Interoperability of SCA and SDO in various vendor implementations is the goal of the standardization effort, Mischkinsky said, and will ultimately be the test of whether the specs meet the OASIS standardization criterion.

Coordination to assure interoperability is the job of Mischkinsky and CSA Member Section, which will also oversee the coordination of the SDO specification that is split between a C/C++ specification that will be finalized by an OASIS technical committee, and the Java implementation of SDO, which is in the JCP. The charter for the SDO technical committee is still in process at OASIS, but Mischkinsky said it is likely to be completed and ready for final review within a few weeks. The OASIS technical committees working on the various aspects of SCA plus the C/C++ version of SDO are expected to begin work in September, he said.

While the road to OASIS standardization may take from nine to 18 months, Mischkinsky said the standards will be stable enough for developers to begin implementing them soon after the work begins.

"It will progress very quickly," he said.

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