16 April 2003
A proposal led by IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems next week could lead to a split between Oasis and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — two of the key industry bodies in charge of determining web services standards.
IBM, Microsoft and BEA will propose the creation of a technical committee within Oasis to standardise the Business Process Execution Language for web services (BPEL), an XML dialect for automating complex business processes as web services. About 20 companies in all, including software giants SAP and Siebel, back the proposal.
However, the W3C has also brought together a number of companies in a bid to sort out overlapping standards proposals. It had asked IBM, Microsoft and BEA to submit the BPEL specifications to a working group on web services choreography — the ability to automate business processes as a series of steps — but Microsoft broke from the group after only a day. BEA, which took part in the original W3C meetings on this, has also since shifted its allegiance to BPEL.
The W3C’s members include Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Although members of the Oasis technical committee will monitor the work done by the W3C standards group, there are no plans to officially interact.
Representatives from companies on both sides said they hoped the emerging standards would be complementary. However, analysts believe that BPEL is likely to gain the most traction as it has garnered the greatest amount of industry support.
* In a separate web services standards development, global consortium the Liberty Alliance yesterday unveiled its Phase 2 specifications on creating single sign-on and identity management within web services applications.