Oracle wants web services unity; BEA attacks IBM

11 September 2002 Database giant Oracle has called on the IT industry to develop a unified web services language for co-ordinating, or “choreographing”, business-to-process transactions to address the interoperability problems that have been raised by a plethora of proposed specifications.

The company argues that this myriad of “choreography” specifications will hinder the adoption of web services – a new applications approach that uses a universal set of standards to enable the ‘discovery’, assembly and execution of application modules over the Internet and deliver them as a service – across collaborative supply chains.

Oracle wants the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to form an industry-wide working group to develop standards governing interconnecting components of a web service transaction. The company intends to make its plans known at a W3C meeting today.

Already, a number of choreography specifications for web services transactions, based on the web services description language standard, have been proposed by leading software suppliers and industry standards bodies.

These include Business Process Execution Language for Web Services, the Web Service Choreography Interface from Sun Microsystems, Business Process Modelling Language and the Web Services Conversation Language.

The upshot of this diversity is that interconnecting components of a B2B web transaction, based on one choreography specification, will be different to another. This could create lots of additional work for programmers. Oracle argues that vendors need to work together to share their web services development results in an open forum environment.

However, most vendors are keen to hang onto their proprietary web services technology. Reflecting this, application server vendor BEA Systems launched a public attack on IBM’s web services middleware software yesterday.

BEA said its Web Logic Workshop integrated development environment (IDE)product enables developers to build a web service in a fifth of the time it would take using a similar product from IBM. More specifically, BEA said it had demonstrated that a developer could construct a human resources web service in five straightforward steps, compared to 28 steps using IBM’s WebSphere Application Developer IDE.

IBM responded by referring to BEA’s statement as “lame”. An IBM spokesman hinted that BEA might by trying to distract attention away from its falling revenues. For its latest financial quarter ending July 2002, BEA reported revenues of $225.9 million (€231.7m), down 16% on $267.8 million (€274.6m) in the previous year.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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