Industry struggles toward interoperable Web services

Industry struggles toward interoperable Web services

A generic Extensible Markup Language architecture for Web services advocated by the Web Services Interoperability Organization will 'significantly reduce the cost and complexity of connecting disparate systems,' according to a message from Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates. The e-mail message circulated yesterday.

Gates said the WS-* architecture, pronounced 'WS star,' is the result of Microsoft's collaboration with BEA Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

All the companies are represented on the WS-I board of directors, in addition to Fujitsu Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., SAP AG and WebMethods Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

WS-I of San Francisco, which was founded in 2002, produces profiles, sample applications and test tools. It claims 130 member organizations in 14 nations, but so far the federal government's XML working groups are not active in it. See www.ws-i.org for more information.

In his e-mail, in addition to boasting of Windows interoperability with most types of hardware and software, Gates managed a dig at Microsoft's Linux competitors.

'Sometimes interoperability is confused with open-source software,' he wrote. 'Interoperability is about how different software systems work together. Open source is a methodology for licensing or developing software that may or may not be interoperable.'

Gates added that open source 'encourages the creation of many permutations of the same type of software application, which could add implementation and testing overhead to interoperability efforts.'

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