25 March 2003 A web services standards war is looming after representatives of software giant Microsoft quit a Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) panel set-up to establish standards for web services ‘choreography’.
The idea of web services choreography is to ensure that organisations can build web services using components from different vendors. The W3C set up the panel to try and avoid a debilitating standards war that could slow the adoption of web services.
Microsoft had joined the effort in a blaze of publicity last year after a spat with rival Sun Microsystems.
But Microsoft’s director of web services Steven van Roekel said that two Microsoft representatives had attended one meeting to work out the scope of the project. But on finding out that the W3C’s plans differed significantly from Microsoft’s they discontinued participation, van Roekel told InfoWorld.
Steve Ross-Talbot, co-chairman of the panel and chief scientist at enterprise application integration software vendor Enigmatec, expressed surprise at the move, particularly after they had made a number of contributions at the meeting they attended.
“I am totally mystified as to why Microsoft has decided to withdraw from this group… they both made outstanding contributions to the group in a very short space of time,” he told InfoWorld.
The fear is that Microsoft, Sun Microsystems or other vendors could take a proprietary approach to web services. Not necessarily making their implementation entirely incompatible, but introducing enough inconsistencies to provide users with some major headaches.
Microsoft had developed a choreography scheme called the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) in partnership with IBM and BEA Systems. However, Sun backs the web services choreography Interface (WSCI), which it developed in conjunction with SAP and Intalio as well as BEA Systems.