The "Big 3" Show Code for Real World Web Services
Last week was a pretty good one for devs looking for evidence that enterprise-ready web services are ready for their attention, Microsoft and IBM jointly showed a working demo of their next-gen web services standards for reliability, security and transactions management. Meanwhile, Sun was offering the first code release of J2EE 1.4 with web services, making good on a promise made late last year to bundle core web services support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI into J2EE 1.4 source code.
Last week was a pretty good one for devs looking for evidence that enterprise-ready web services are ready for their attention, Microsoft and IBM jointly showed a working demo of their next-gen web services standards for reliability, security and transactions management.
Meanwhile, Sun was offering the first code release of J2EE 1.4 with web services, making good on a promise made late last year to bundle core web services support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI into J2EE 1.4 source code.
Taken together, these related but separate public showings are aimed to better convince CxOs and developers that web services are poised to respond to of the biggest enterprise dev needs -- mission-criticality and cross-platform.
The Microsoft/IBM joint demo illustrated progress on work bring done under the auspices of the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) on three key end-to-end web services standards -- WS-Security, WS-Reliable Messaging and WS-Transaction.
[WS-Transaction, in many respects ias based on a related WS-I spec called WS-Coordination, which describes an extensible framework for providing protocols that coordinate the actions of distributed applications. It is co-authored by Microsoft, IBM and the other leading J2EE app server provider BEA Systems. WS-Coordination was just updated last week, and Get the latest WS-Coordination docs are available.]
The Microsoft/IBM demo showed how these standards can be used to build web services applications that can conduct end-to-end transactions. In the demo, the Use Case was a transaction between a B2B e-commerce application, which linked a carmaker, a dealer and a supplier.
The key was the use of different platforms (J2EE-based IBM Websphere app server, .NET-based Windows Server 2003, Linux and a handheld device.) As an indication of the importance of the technology push, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and IBM's Software Division Chief Steve Mills shared the stage at New York's St Regis Hotel.
While these supply chain applications are becoming more common in large enterprises, it is often difficult to guarantee the integrity or security of the transaction unless the end-to-end connection is from a single vendor or common operating environment.
To mix OSes or programming languages (such as Java and C++ or Java and .NET), and/or operating systems (Unix/Linux, Windows, AS/400, etc.) devs and sysadmins often need to cobble together connections with complex middleware/EAI solutions to link the back office tier to the middle web/app server tier; and beyond that use Internet or integration brokers to further link the mid-tier to a variety of clients.
Further, after all these staged connections are achieved, a single managed-console approach for ensuring the transactions are completed, and secure from interruption (or interception) is problematic.
Now that Microsoft/IBM have showed that their proposed suite of standards provides a "real" result, the next question is: How will these proposals be converted into industry-wide, technology-independent standards? Gates and Mills assured the attendees at the demo they intend to submit the work to a standards group by yearend, but did not say which group.
Sun, for its part, also took a step toward making web services more "real" to the J2EE community, with the release of the J2EE 1.4, which will include code to support core aspects of the WS-I's Basic Profile 1.0 for web services..
Sun calls the code release a "qualification" or "pre-release" version, and simply an indication to Java/J2EE devs what the new release will include when final. The download of J2EE 1.4 "qualification release" is available to current J2EE licensees free.. " The J2EE SDK is intended as a proof of concept and example for implementations in the application server marketplace," Sun said.
Aside form support for Basic Profile 1.0, the J2EE 1.4 code release also includes Web services support through the new JAX-RPC 1.1 API, which supports service endpoints based on servlets and enterprise beans. JAX-RPC 1.1 provides interoperability with Web services based on the WSDL and SOAP protocols. The J2EE 1.4 platform also supports the Web Services for J2EE specification (JSR 109), which defines deployment requirements for Web services and utilizes the JAX-RPC programming model.