18 September 2003 Microsoft and IBM have agreed on a series of standards for web services that ought to ensure seamless interoperability between different vendors’ technology.
In a briefing in New York, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and IBM Software Group senior vice president Steve Mills demonstrated the WS-Security, WS-Reliable Messaging and WS-Transaction protocols in an example involving the supply chain between a car dealer, manufacturer and a supplier.
The demonstration involved software running on different systems, including Windows Server 2003, a Linux-based WebSphere application server running on IBM hardware and a Linux-based wireless handheld computer client device.
The idea was to prove that the new standards thrashed out by the computer giants could offer seamless interoperability between disparate systems. That interoperability is vital if web services are to be widely adopted.
“This is the first time anyone has seen this running,” said Gates. He added: “These are the infrastructure pieces that will lead to an explosion in web services,” said Gates.
However, it may be some time before the OASIS standards group ratifies the standards. Although WS-Security is expected to be formally adopted by OASIS in the next six months, it might not be until 2004 or 2005 that WS-Transaction and WS-Reliable Messaging are approved.
Nevertheless, Gates pledged that Microsoft would push the standards through the relevant bodies and make them available for all as royalty-free standards.
“Web services are important to the foundation of the Internet, enabling ecommerce to become a reality,” said Gates. He added: “That rich new layer will take web services to a new level… we hope to see implementation in .Net and [IBM] WebSphere.”