Consortium Standards Bulletin- May 2003
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MAY 2003
Vol 2, No. 6


For web services to impact the market as expected, standards must be of high technical quality, trusted and widely adopted. The best standards bodies to create them will ultimately be decided by the marketplace itself. Read More   Print This Article (PDF)

Representatives of OASIS and W3C, as well as the Web Services Interoperability Organization, respond to questions which allow each organization to present its view of its own role, and the role of other bodies, in the setting and support of web services standards. Read More Print This Article (PDF)

When new and complex interoperability opportunities evolve, the availability of the consortium process permits rapid, responsive and creative adaptation by the marketplace to meet the challenge of these new opportunities. WS-I provides an example of this dynamic in action. Read More Print This Article (PDF)

Following a flurry of activity regarding the April issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin with ANSI's help, language was added to the Congressional Judiciary Committee Report accompanying H.R. 1086, which seeks to prevent the Bill from negatively impacting non-SDO standard setting organizations. Read More Print This Article (PDF)

The new patent policy adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) seeks to ensure that recommendations and standards developed by the organization will be implemented on a Royalty-Free basis. Read More

The standards community lost a friend when it lost Kate McMillan on May 21, 2003. Read More

News Shorts: For the most important recent press releases and news stories, see below. Print This Article (PDF)

Comments? Email:

Copyright 2004 Andrew Updegrove

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Andrew Updegrove

Abstract: The ability of web services to become a pervasive reality in the marketplace will be dependent in large measure upon the quality of the standards that are created to enable them. The best standards bodies to create those standards will ultimately be decided by the marketplace itself, which can choose among a variety of entities with a range of processes and technical focus. But some degree of inefficiency and confusion may be the inevitable cost for the existence of choice.


There once was a time when anyone using a computer could employ anything that anyone else had created. No one had to worry whether any information or application resident on a computer could be used by anyone else. IT life was simple and good. Then the second computer was built, and the struggle to return to the Garden of Interoperability was on.

For many years, interoperability was desirable for reasons such as avoiding "lock in" to single vendor solutions, to be able to access a wider, and more price competitive range of products and services, and to broaden the pool of potential IT hires. But with the invention of the Ethernet, and the later advent of the Internet, the need to exchange data and permit the interoperation of enormous, wide area networks has become a matter of even greater urgency. Imagine, for example, managing the IT resources of the United States Federal government and all of its agencies.

There have been many efforts launched over the years to achieve interoperability Nirvana, many of which have focused on the Unix operating system. While today's Linux development efforts add a new open source dimension (and attendant benefits) to the process, the core value of the deliverable remains a stable, open operating system that will facilitate the assembling of interoperable systems.

The latest methodological approach to achieve interoperability is web services -- a series of processes and functions for developing, integrating and deploying network-based software applications. Using the web services approach, software applications are packaged as single entities and "published" to the network, where they can interact with other applications using Internet-standard technologies and connections.

In the grand vision, web services would be used to create open, distributed systems whereby companies and individuals can access information, tools and products quickly, inexpensively and efficiently. In a world architected to support pervasive web services, vendors like IBM and Microsoft see themselves becoming IT "utilities," selling services upon demand across an Internet "grid." ZapThink LLC, a leading XML and Web Services analyst firm, predicts that the web services security market alone will reach $4.4 billion by 2006, and that the total web services market will exceed $25 billion.

Is such a golden world of pervasive web services interoperability just over the horizon? Or are we simply witnessing another example of over-enthusiasm for "The Next Big Thing," in this case even more aggressively hyped in an effort to breath life back into a moribund market for all things IT?

Who knows. But it is certain that the ability to realize even a modest portion of the potential of web services is totally dependent on the continuing evolution -- and pervasive adoption -- of both the base level standards as well as the more specialized specifications that would be needed in the levels above them. For this to happen, the "right" standards bodies will need to support the necessary component processes.

How does one define the "right" standards bodies? In our last issue, we considered whether the market, or the government, should decide the hallmarks of a "good" standard setting process. In this issue, we use the real-world example of web standards and the activities of the principal players in the market to analyze whether the definition of a "good" standards body can be situational, rather than absolute.

We would submit that there is no such thing as a perfect standards body for all purposes. While certain stringent process controls and rules of operation might be essential in certain situations (e.g., where public safety standards are concerned), some of the same controls and rules could be useless drags upon efficiency in another (e.g., where a necessary but non-strategic technical standard in a narrow niche is involved). It is no coincidence that it is in the rapidly evolving world of IT where consortia have flourished, or that the members of those entities have demonstrated a willingness to experiment with process and evolve new methods of operation.

In fact, we believe that it is healthy to accept the appropriateness of a range of stringent process options when constructing the right mechanism for setting a given standard. The instant situation, needs and goals will indicate the process needs, and (fortunately) the diverse range of existing standards bodies may provide an already-existing platform for the project. If not, no one will be more knowledgeable than the technical leaders in a new area to judge what process will best serve the current need.

Recently, some were surprised when Microsoft and IBM decided to offer the BPEL4WS 1.1 specification, which they had co-authored with BEA Systems Inc., SAP AG and Siebel Systems, Inc. to OASIS. Why surprised? Because the widely respected World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) had already commissioned a Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI) working group to solve many of the same web services needs. With OASIS agreeing to charter a working group to further develop and support the BPEL specification, some feared that Microsoft and IBM were acting against the best interests of the marketplace.

So - from the standpoint of facilitating the orderly enablement of web services, was the contribution to OASIS a good thing, or a bad thing? Time will tell, but already companies such as Oracle, BEA, SAP and Sun Microsystems have announced their intentions to participate in the working groups of both W3C and OASIS, with the goal of ensuring that the work product of the two organizations will be complementary, rather than competitive. IBM, on the other hand, has said that it will not participate in the W3C effort "at this time."

In the view of some, the BPEL contribution is a sign of a fragmenting marketplace. But in the view of others, there is a proper role for both W3C and OASIS in web standards, with W3C continuing to focus on more foundational standards such as XML and SOAP, and organizations like OASIS providing useful contributions at higher levels. In this view, the process and focus of OASIS may offer the most experienced, appropriate platform for an effort at this level.

In fact, we would submit that the diversity of standard setting body choices might often (if not always) achieve a better result. By providing the marketplace with choices, a given standards effort can be launched from the optimal platform. Given that all standards work is ultimately consensual, it is not likely that a standard setting effort will attract a critical mass of participants, or that its work product will become widely adopted, if the market concludes that proprietary motives are manipulating the process or that the technical quality of the work product is poor. Similarly, as with all other aspects of a free market, having competition keeps a standards body nimble and responsive, and less likely to become flaccid or subject to manipulation. Finally, the stress of competition and the inability of any organization to be guaranteed a technical "turf" facilitates the active, healthy evolution of the standard setting process.

Of course, the presence of choice also presents the potential for false starts, duplicative effort, confusion, and delayed take up of new standards in the marketplace. But that same marketplace has a tendency to react dynamically to such threats, with individual companies being more than willing to inform vendors of their desires, and announcing their standards implementation intentions. And standards organizations themselves have a tradition of establishing liaisons - both formal and informal. Hence, a constant process of adjustment will usually (though admittedly not always) prevent truly destructive divisions to form in the marketplace.

So the question remains: who should set the standards for web services? Just watch and wait -- the market will decide. And that's not a bad thing.

Disclosure: The author of this article is counsel to OASIS

Comments? Email:

Copyright 2004 Andrew Updegrove




Andrew Updegrove

Abstract: Much has been made by the press in the last month over the contribution of BPEL by Microsoft and IBM to OASIS rather than W3C. Representatives of OASIS and W3C, as well as the Web Services Interoperability Organization, respond to questions which allow each organization to present its view of its own role, and the role of other bodies, in the setting and support of web services standards.

I. Introduction:  There is an old saw that goes something like this: "Having a standard for a given job is good - that's why people come up with so many of them." Sadly, there is some basis for truth in this satirical observation. In a perfect world, the commercial lions would lie down with the lambs, and there would be a single, robust, elegant and universally adopted standard for every IT need.

Back here in the real world, however, there is a rough and tumble marketplace in which vendors let down their commercial guards (just a bit) to collectively set standards with end-users and other interested parties enabling new product niches within which the same vendors will then aggressively compete. At times, competing standards efforts are launched, and when that happens, the universal adoption of a final standard is often delayed.

But as often also happens, a new standard can relate to an emerging technology that sometimes fails to realize its originally claimed potential. For example, while it appears that both the Bluetooth and the Wifi standards will be broadly implemented, other early contenders (such as HomeRF) have fallen by the wayside. Sometimes, starting several horses from the gate proves to be a useful and prudent strategy.

The advent of web services provides an especially interesting opportunity to view the standard setting process in action, given the enormous commercial consequences of success, the number of capable organizations bodies available to participate in the creation of the essential standards, and the large number of standards which are necessary to fully achieve the web services vision.

Recently, there has been a flurry of articles written about whether the W3C, instead of OASIS, should have been invited to continue the development of the BPEL4WS 1.1 specification. Is this a case of the press blowing a situation out of proportion, or the first indication of a real problem? And if the situation does deserve attention, how do the organizations involved plan to work together to ensure a result that is beneficial to all?

To find out, we went directly to the organizations involved.

II. Survey Methodology. For this article, we posed a series of questions to some of the most active players in the web services standards arena: two standard setting bodies (W3C and OASIS) and the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I), which is supporting the evolution of web services in a different and interesting way (see the following article: New Wine - Old Bottles: WS-I Brings a New Dimension to the Art Of Making Standards Succeed).

The questions posed were intended to give each organization the opportunity to present its position within the overall standard setting effort, and to share its thoughts about past accomplishments and future challenges. Each organization was presented with the same questions. Some respondents declined to answer a given question. While some answers were redacted to eliminate repetition and to manage length, the actual text included below is otherwise reproduced verbatim.

We also interviewed representatives of OpenGis Consortium in order to access the educated opinions of an independent source on the same questions. Their observations are reflected as well.

The respondents for the organizations were:

OASIS: Patrick Gannon (President and CEO) and Karl Best (Vice President)

Open GIS Consortium: David Schell (President and CEO) and Carl Reed (Executive Director of Specifications Programs)

W3C: C.M. Sperberg-McQueen (Architecture Domain Lead and co-author of XML 1.0)

WS-I: Andy Astor, Board Member and Vice President, Enterprise Web Services, webMethods)

III. Questions and Answers

The Addendum of this article includes additional technical information.

CSB: How many web services projects are underway at your organization right now?

OASIS: The answer depends on how broadly you define Web services. OASIS has 57 technical committees as of today, and most of them relate to Web services in one way or another.

W3C: W3C has Five Working Groups/Task Forces with the words "Web Services" in them, and at least another 5 which have produced the foundation for all other WS Work, no matter which organization you look at, or which prefix they use for their specifications. They are providing the normative references for dozens of efforts in vertical and upper layer horizontal efforts.

Homepage for W3C's WS Activity: W3C's WS Activity Statement:

WS-I: WS-I is not a standards organization like W3C, Oasis or IETF. WS-I is not creating standards. WS-I sits downstream from standards bodies to provide companion guidelines, conventions, and best practices to promote interoperable implementations.

CSB: What are those projects?

OASIS: OASIS is responsible for UDDI, one of the four pieces defined by WS-I in their "basic WS profile" (XML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI). OASIS also hosts a large body of work that goes beyond the foundational specifications, work that makes Web services practical. The OASIS UN/CEFACT ebXML standards are complex Web services. Developed before the term 'WS' was coined, ebXML delivers the functional requirements of Web services for business critical applications. Four OASIS technical committees are devoted to ebXML: And certainly, without security, Web services would be of little use. OASIS Open Standards such as SAML, XACML, and specifications in progress, such as WS-Security, and foundational security standards, such as PKI, all have a place in the big picture of Web services. (See the Technical Addendum for additional information)

W3C: Over 19 Technical Specifications are under development at W3C within its WS-named Working Groups and task forces. Another 10 W3C Recommendations serve as the foundations for all of the WS work in all organizations, including XML, XML Schema, XML Signature, and XML Encryption. A detailed list is at the bottom of this article. (See the Technical Addendum for additional information)

CSB: Which project do you think is most interesting or important, and why?

OASIS: All are interesting and important. ebXML is global and comprehensive, UDDI is foundational and widely recognized, WS-Security is essential, WSBPEL is the most recent and is generating quite a lot of interest.

W3C: The most important spec - perhaps for all organizations interested in Web Services - is the spec being produced by W3C's XML Protocol Working Group - SOAP 1.2. SOAP is the most central spec around which all Web Services activity centers - can you imagine a single WS article where it isn't mentioned? - and more or less defines WS. SOAP 1.2 is the first solid, standardized version of SOAP, with full support for W3C Recommendations, support for multiple protocols (not just HTTP), and over 400 issues resolved. That said, WSDL is frequently mentioned as a core WS specification. WSDL 1.2, the first standardized version, will likely go to Last Call later this year.

CSB: Other organizations are also very active in Web services standards definition and development. Please name those organizations that you think are important to the evolution of Web services, and why.

OASIS: Certainly, the W3C plays a major role in defining foundational standards, such as XML and Web Services Architecture.

W3C: W3C's process places emphasis on liaisons - in fact, all W3C WGs are required to establish liaisons with all identified relevant groups. And all W3C Members review all proposed work before any technical resources are assigned. As a result, our 410+ organizational Members - which include OASIS - are aware of all potential and new work, and can say what is in scope, and who we need to coordinate with. The full W3C liaison list is at:

When the topic comes to Web Services, we set up liaisons at a technical level with whatever organization the vendors choose as the destination for their initial specs. As a result, W3C WGs work with many TCs in OASIS, and with individuals involved in the non-standard, profile work in WS-I. In the past, we have also had connections with groups such as OMG (for XML Protocol/SOAP 1.2 work).

WS-I: W3C, OASIS and IETF are all actively participating in the creation of standards for Web services. WS-I works in cooperation with these organizations to create resource and guidance to ensure interoperability of these standards.

CSB: Please explain how the goals of your organization relate to the goals of these other organizations.

OASIS: OASIS and W3C maintain a good working relationship -- one that's longstanding. We continue our commitment to working together to coordinate the development of the broad spectrum of Web services specifications as much as possible.

W3C: W3C's goal is to build an open, extensible technical foundation for the Web. Web Services is one part of this foundation. We strive to make W3C specifications interoperable with each other and with relevant foundational specifications from other bodies, such as IETF and ISO.

We work for universal access by eliminating barriers to access based on hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability; all of our specifications are reviewed by our Internationalization Activity and by our Web Accessibility Initiative to ensure that they meet this goal as far as possible. In order to ensure that Web technology scales, W3C stresses decentralization and evolvability of technology. In order to ensure that the technology works well for all, W3C stresses consensus-based development, from the initial review of proposals for W3C work, through the development of working drafts, to the final decision on making a specification a Recommendation.

We have a long history of good coordination with IETF and other SDOs, based primarily on cooperation at the technical level. In some cases, liaison is made more difficult by differences in overall goals of the organizations or by differences in intellectual property policy: the W3C is firmly committed to ensuring that Web technology, like the foundational technologies of the Internet, are available for royalty-free implementation by any interested party.

WS-I: We bring the work of multiple standards development organizations together for the purpose of providing clarity and conformance around Web services. In addition, this implementers’ forum seeks to provide implementation guidance to customers. In this way WS-I acts as a standards integrator, a role that is beyond the scope of any single standards organization.

CSB: Do you think that the various involved consortia are working well together, or is there a level of inefficiency, competition or overlap that should be resolved?

OASIS: The involved consortia organizations are generally working well together, sharing information and trying to coordinate events. The consortia organizations are also encouraging our respective members (who work on the respective technical specifications) to coordinate their TC/WG activities with technical liaisons whenever possible.

W3C: There is certainly some inefficiency introduced by having work in related fields taking place in different organizations; it's not clear that such inefficiencies can be avoided. In the Web Services space, the difficulty seems to be particularly acute. At W3C, WGs are required to liaise with any external group identified as relevant. Since many of the same people participate in these groups, there are natural opportunities for liaison, but it does mean extra work for the individuals involved. Since liaison at the technical level is essential to make the best of the current fragmented situation, W3C is committed to doing our best to encourage such liaison.

WS-I: WS-I’s mission is crisply – even narrowly – defined, and is fundamentally different from the standards bodies discussed above. As a result, no coordination difficulties are apparent.

CSB: Do you think the marketplace has totally bought in to the use of Web services? If there is still work to be done in this regard, what sectors "get it" the most and what sectors still need to be worked on the most?

OASIS: The Internet software industry has certainly embraced the use of Web services, however, I don't think we'll see widespread pick-up from the end user companies and large industries until interoperable solutions are available that implement a full range of Web services infrastructure specifications that have been approved through open standards consortia processes like those at W3C and OASIS.

W3C: The fragmentation of the standardization landscape is clearly slowing the adoption of Web Services technology. Customers will buy in only when they feel they can trust the results, and can implement the technology on a non-proprietary basis without fear of vendor lock-in.

W3C hears a growing level of concern from companies for which Web Services could potentially offer a solution to their application to application communications, both within their company and between their company and other entities. There is uncertainly regarding the number of organizations developing WS specs, and how this might affect the coherence, interoperability and quality of the specs. There is uncertainty regarding the licensing structure of specifications not developed under a clear patent policy like that at W3C. Press regarding (non-existent) battles between organizations, divergence of approaches and disagreements between WS vendors, the large number of WS specs (many of which have not been submitted to any standards body), etc., also contribute to uncertainty. The vendor and standards community has its work cut out for it to build confidence in the customer community.

WS-I: The marketplace has certainly embraced Web services. Nearly all enterprises of significant size (and many smaller ones as well) have begun developing Web service-based applications and/or integrations. Indeed, hundreds of Web services projects that are in production have been described in the literature. Having said that, Web services are still a young technology. The current state of Web services standards address only basic interoperability. As of today, deeper technical requirements still have to be written in a proprietary manner. As a result, most companies are using Web services today to expose “lighter-weight” services. As standards mature, as the market’s experience deepens, Web services will become more common for more mission-critical processing.

It is difficult to generalize, but leading industries in the Web services arena include financial services, travel, government and manufacturing.

CSB: What are the key challenges (technical, business adoption or other) that need to be addressed in order to achieve pervasive use of web services?

OASIS: Web services cannot be deployed without open standards. The role of OASIS is to ensure key Web services standards are developed the right way--through an open process, with the widest possible representation, in coordination with related specifications, at a speed that meets the needs of the market.

W3C: The market needs:

  • A clear, vendor-neutral architecture to which customers can refer. The architecture needs to be able to evolve over time.
  • A coherent suite of high-quality, interoperable specifications.
  • Clear IPR terms providing for royalty-free implementation of the specifications, without burdensome licensing provisions.
  • A migration path which from the use of current proprietary specs to the use of non-proprietary specs is developed within standards bodies.

CSB: Anything else we should know?

W3C: The way work is done, and the goals of organizations, vary widely, even in the area of Web Services. It's W3C's belief that the success of Web Services rests in its first name - Web. Not one or two vendors' views of it, but what has brought us here in the first place: elegant simple protocols, supporting a decentralized model that all can build upon. After 9 years of developing Web Standards, W3C has a track record of successful completion and adoption of web technology work among what are often competitive entities. We've seen in other tech/Web sectors what happens when the marketing outruns the technical results, and it's our Members' goal not to see a replay of that in WS.

IV. Other Views

In a recent interview with Computerworld, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee observed that standards groups are "very different places." But does the same observation apply to standards? In other words: are some web services standards "different" from other standards in a way that indicates one organization rather than another should develop and control them? And if so, which ones?

David Schell, the founder, president and standards visionary of OpenGIS Consortium, thinks that some web services standards indeed are different. He endorses the view that those who set foundational standards involving the Web should take the public interest into account, whether that organization is a consortium or an accredited organization that follows the formal ANSI process. In fact, in his view, the W3C has a process which is more open than would be required by ANSI to obtain accreditation. He particularly approves of W3C's public comment processes and (now) codified IPR policy which makes it extremely unlikely that a royalty-bearing specification will be adopted.

At the same time, Carl Reed, OpenGIS' Executive Director of Specifications Programs, notes that not all web services standards require the W3C approach. He summarizes the starting positions of W3C and OASIS as follows:

W3C Vision: The World Wide Web Consortium was created to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. Its long-term goals for the Web are:

  • Universal Access: To make the Web accessible to all by promoting technologies that take into account the vast differences in culture, languages, education, ability, material resources, access devices, and physical limitations of users on all continents;
  • Semantic Web: To develop a software environment that permits each user to make the best use of the resources available on the Web;
  • Web of Trust: To guide the Web's development with careful consideration for the novel legal, commercial, and social issues raised by this technology.
  • W3C and Web Services: W3C works on defining the architecture as well as the core technologies for Web services. The goal of its Web Services Activity is to design a set of technologies fitting in the Web architecture in order to bring the development of web services to its full potential. The goal of the Web Services Architecture Working Group is to identify the building blocks and how they interact with each other.

    OASIS Vision: OASIS is a not-for-profit, global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. Members themselves set the OASIS technical agenda, using a lightweight, open process expressly designed to promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts. OASIS produces worldwide standards for security, Web services, XML conformance, business transactions, electronic publishing, topic maps and interoperability within and between marketplaces.

    A bit on BPEL: Web Services Business Process Execution Language TC
    The purpose of the Web Services Business Process Execution Language TC is to continue work on the business process language published in the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) specification in August 2002.

    As you can see, OASIS is about the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. They primarily use specifications and tools developed by the W3C. The W3C vision is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability.

With this as a starting point, Reed analyzes the situation as follows:

W3C is not necessarily the place for all Web Services work. The W3C has traditionally worked in the area of core tools/standards for building applications on the Web, maintaining and enhancing the infrastructure of the Web (e.g., XML, HTML, SVG and SOAP). OASIS and the OGC, on the other hand, use the standards/tools developed by the W3C membership (and vendor provided implementations) as a foundation on which to build domain specific standards. The OGC deals with things geospatial. The OASIS tends to deal with things business (process, value chains, business content encoding, etc). The one possible area of overlap contention is UDDI, which should probably "belong" to the W3C process.

Given the respective histories and areas of expertise of the various standards organizations, OASIS is most probably the correct home for BPEL. One (especially the press) can read all kinds of insidious things into this move (IBM/Microsoft are trying to undermine W3C etc) but at the end of the day, W3C does not really deal with solving domain specific interoperability issues. They are developing cross cutting standards that others can build on. It is similar to the fact that the W3C builds upon the infrastructure provided by the hundreds of standards that are the Internet (and which are "owned" by the IETF).

At the end of the day, of course, there may be no "best" place for every standard. And while there may in a given case be a standard setting body that might commonly be acknowledged to be most appropriate, all will not necessarily be lost if a given effort begins elsewhere. Ultimately, the standards development process is organic, dynamic, and elastic enough that if a standard is important, then the industry will direct its attention towards nurturing that standard wherever the seed may fall.

Disclosure: The author of this article is counsel to OASIS

Comments and questions about this article may be sent to the author at

V. Technical Addendum


Additional Web Services standards projects:

OASIS Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WSBPEL) TC
OASIS Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) TC
OASIS Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) TC
OASIS Web Services For Interactive Applications (WSIA) TC
OASIS Web Services for Reliable Messaging (WSRM) TC
OASIS Web Services Security (WS-Security) TC
OASIS ebXML Messaging Services TC
OASIS ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement TC
OASIS ebXML Registry TC
OASIS ebXML Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance TC


The WGs and Task Forces at a glance:
(1) XML Protocol Working Group
Start date: 2000-09
All work on SOAP 1.2 happens here.

(2) Web Services Architecture Working Group
Start date: 2002-01
This group identifies the overall architecture, identifies missing pieces, and determines whether new work is needed or existing work (inside or outside of W3C) meets needs.

(3) Web Services Description Working Group.
Start date: 2002-01
This group is at work on the standardized version of WSDL - WSDL 1.2.

(4) Web Services Choreography Working Group.
Start date: 2003-01

Outside of the W3C WS Activity, there is the W3C Internationalization WS Taskforce, which looks at internationalization issues and how they impact WS applications and infrastructure.

The W3C XML Signature, XML Encryption and XML Key Management Services Activities have provided the foundation for all security-based work in WS and beyond. XML Signature and XML Encryption have completed their work, and the resulting W3C Recommendations now serve as the basis for many other specs, including the WS-Security Specification first produced by IBM and MS and now being worked on further in OASIS.

The W3C XML Activity has four Working Groups relevant to Web Services: the XML Core Working Group maintains the XML, XML Namespaces, and XML Information Set specifications which define the basis for most Web Services work. The XML Schema Working Group defined the XML Schema language, which defines a standard way to associate conventional datatypes with XML elements and attributes, and which introduces some standard object-oriented concepts into the XML context. The XML Query and XSL Working Groups are working collaboratively on XPath 2.0, which will add type awareness to a core component of many XML applications. XPath 2.0 will be, more or less, the intersection of XQuery 1.0, a statically typed query and manipulation language which can be used for querying XML document collections and producing results in XML form, and XSLT 2.0, which will be a further development of XSLT 1.0, which is already one of the most widely used and most successful language for XML-based processing.




Andrew Updegrove

Abstract: The increasing proliferation - and therefore visibility - of consortia has helped legitimate this model for collaboration. At the same time, the flexibility of the approach permits consortium founders to employ the model for diverse purposes. As a result, when new and complex interoperability opportunities evolve, the availability of the consortium process permits rapid, responsive and creative adaptation by the marketplace to meet the challenge of these new opportunities. WS-I provides an example of this dynamic in action.

Introduction:  When one thinks of the favorable attributes of consortia, many people think first of speed. Certainly, the consortium approach has the potential for producing rapid results (even if not all organizations actually achieve that benefit). A less often appreciated characteristic of the consortium approach is its inherent flexibility. Flexibility of approach can be essential to enable swift adaptations to new market conditions and the generation of effective institutional responses.

The advent of web services -- and the founding of the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) -- present an excellent example of how the flexibility of the consortium approach can help the potential beneficiaries of a new business model gain rapid credibility and traction for that model.

The Bottle: There have long been promotional as well as standard setting consortia - as well as consortia that fulfill both functions (see Some promotional consortia support standards work done by other consortia, while others promote the takeup of standards developed by ANSI accredited organizations (e.g., the 1335 Association, which supports the IEEE 1335 standard: Other consortia have been formed to develop and promote "best practices" and educate the marketplace about new standards-based processes, products or services.

The Wine: In the case of web services, a group of vendor companies identified a new set of tasks that needed attention in order to facilitate the launch of the web services model, including the development of deliverables such as profiles of web services standards suites, the use of which could facilitate the rapid deployment of web services.

Rather than approach an existing standard setting organization and attempting to interest it in meeting needs that extend beyond its normal purview, a founding group of companies (Accenture, BEA Systems, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP) announced in February of 2002 that they would launch a new consortium for the express purpose of creating such profiles and related tools, and otherwise promoting and facilitating the pervasive implementation of web services. The presumed beneficiaries of its work would be producers of web services products (ISVs), consumers of web services (user companies), and various standards organizations.

The organization they formed was named the "Web Services Interoperability Organization" (or more familiarly, "WS-I"). Fifteen months after the announcement of the new collaboration, 170 companies have rallied to the call, valuable work product is already nearing completion, and WS-I has become an acknowledged player in the network of consortia that are helping make web services a reality.

The mission of WS-I, as articulated by its founders, was "to deliver clear and consistent recommendations for ensuring interoperability between web services across platforms, applications, and programming languages." It also seeks to promote the appeal of web services by: making their implementation more commercially attractive through lowering technical obstacles to adoption; reducing complexity and efforts needed to integrate separately-developed web services; and ensuring the continued evolution of web services technologies via clear and implementable processes and confirmable interoperability test suites.

The specific deliverables of WS-I are interesting in their own right, and a reflection of the broad range of work products upon which a group of companies can agree to collaborate, using the consortium process. As described at the WS-I website:

"[WS-I's] deliverables are targeted at proving resources for any Web services developer to create interoperable Web services, and verify that their results are compliant with both industry standards and WS-I recommended guidelines. The most important resources that will be provided are tools we refer to as a ‘sniffer’ and an ‘analyzer’. The process used to develop these tools generates other useful implementation resources along the way.

  • Profiles: Sets of Web services specifications that work together to support specific types of solutions
  • Sample Implementations: With the context of a profile, teams work to define a set of Web services that are implemented by multiple team members to identify where interoperability issues are present.
  • Implementation Guidelines: Recommendations for use of specifications in ways that have been proven to be most interoperable. These guidelines also provide the set of test cases that the sniffer and analyzer tools detect for compliance verification.
  • Sniffer: Tools to monitor and log interactions with a Web service. This tool generates a file that can later be processed by the analyzer.
  • Analyzer: Tools that process sniffer logs to verify that a Web service implementation is free from errors."

Understanding what WS-I means by "profiles" is at the heart of understanding what WS-I is all about. WS-I does not itself set standards (in fact, one if its greatest frustrations is marketplace confusion on that point). In its own words, WS-I "sits downstream" from those who do set standards. What it does do is to review the standards of other organizations, and then encourage the adoption and implementation of what it considers to be the "Baseline" Web services standards available today (XML, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI). As Andy Astor, a WS-I board member and the Vice President for Enterprise Web Services of member webMethods, Inc., puts it, " WS-I acts as a standards integrator, a role that is beyond the scope of any single standards organization. The organization’s founding is a response to the need to make standards even more relevant, even more quickly."

By assembling collections of key web services standards into meaningful groupings, WS-I seeks to simplify implementation and promote interoperability. And having created these profiles, it can then embark on the creation of the other deliverables that make it more attractive for businesses to adopt these profiles. The desired end result: faster deployment of web services.

All in the Family: Since WS-I does not set standards, maintaining effective relationships with relevant standard setting organizations is important. WS-I believes that it complements the work of standards organizations like W3C, Oasis, IETF and others. Necessarily, of course, there is the reality that if one assumes the right to anoint one specification over another, there is the potential for friction or conflict. Interestingly, while it maintains informal liaison relationships with many organizations, WS-I does not have formal relationships with any standard setting body.

But in fact the multiple organizations involved in setting web services (and other web) standards must also work together cooperatively for the common good in order for web services standards to be useful and adopted. Adding an organization like WS-I into the mix simply adds a new dimension to a traditional and existing challenge. The substantial overlap in memberships (including at the Board level) between WS-I and the standard setting bodies most involved in setting web services standards provides the greatest force motivating productive collaboration. (For the results of interviews with WS-I, W3C and OASIS on how they fit together, see "The Role of Web Services Standards Bodies: In Their Own Words")

Challenges: Unlike many new models of achieving interoperability, the web services concept has achieved buy-in from major vendors fairly quickly. With that success has come a different set of challenges. When asked what important forces are acting on WS-I today, Astor replied: "The key force impacting WS-I today is that Web services are becoming mainstream, and their usage more common. As a result, the market is demanding technical standards and guidelines of increased depth (e.g., security, orchestration, and management), and to look for these items to be completed quickly. While WS-I is not a standards body, and does not invent new standards, it has needed to address these issues."

One response to this challenge was the chartering in April of a Basic Security Profile Working Group. The BSPWG is charged with developing an interoperability profile involving transport security, SOAP messaging security and other security considerations implicated by the WS-I Basic Profile. The Basic Security Profile is intended to be an extension of the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 and will reference existing specifications used to provide security, clarifications and guidance designed to promote interoperability of those specifications.

Astor identifies the following as the other major challenges facing the organization today:

  • Improving the membership balance between ISVs and end user organizations. Currently, vendors make up the majority of the membership, and more end user companies are needed to provide real-world examples of how web services are being used today.
  • Communicating to the market the value delivered by the adoption of the web services model of interoperability.
  • Timely delivery of WS-I's work product, since the organization must wait until standards are complete before it can produce its guidelines and recommendations.

At the same time, WS-I points with pride to a strong start, with a number of key deliverables already nearing completion, including working draft versions of the Basic Profile 1.0, Sample Applications and Testing Tools. It expects to make the final versions of these deliverables available this summer.

Summary: Dynamic markets require creative solutions. The increasing legitimacy of the consortium model, conjoined with its flexibility, lends itself to increasingly varied types of collaboration among both vertically and horizontally integrated collections of companies. As the varied use of the consortium model becomes ever more visible, it also becomes more frequently employed to solve problems that only a short time ago would have proven to be intractable. The business model for WS-I, and its rapid success in membership recruitment, provides an excellent example of how the consortium model is capable of playing a unique and important role in enabling the swift adoption of useful new business models.

Comments? Email:

Copyright 2004 Andrew Updegrove

WS-I at a glance:

Date of formation February 2002
Number of Current members 170
Number of classes of membership 3: Founding member, Elected board member, Contributing member
Number of countries represented by current members 18
Number of Technical Committees

4 technical working groups, including:

Basic Profile
· Basic Security Profile
· Sample Applications
· Test Tools and Materials

1 non-technical working group
·Associate membership

7 committees and/or special interest groups (SIGs), including:

· Finance
· Recruiting
· Evangelism SIG
· Marketing Communications
· Liaison
· Technical Coordination Group
· Japan SIG

Number of issued standards or specifications N/A
Other Significant Relationships

Liaison efforts and informal relationships with key standards-setting organizations including W3C, Oasis and IETF

Number of current initiatives · Basic Profile 1.0, including profile, sample applications, use cases, usage scenarios and testing tools
· Basic Profile 1.1, covering SOAP with Attachments
· Basic Security Profile 1.0
Other types of work product Multiple documents including whitepapers, profile overviews, testing tools, etc.
Website address
Companies currently represented on the Executive Board Accenture, BEA Systems, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Sun and webMethods
Officers WS-I Board of Directors includes:
· Tom Glover, Chairman (IBM)
· Chris Kurt, Secretary (Microsoft)
· Jim Hughes, Treasurer (HP)
· Mike De Nicola (Fujitsu)
· Tony Roby (Accenture)
· Don Deutsch (Oracle)
· Norbert Mikula (Intel)
· Franz-Josef Fritz (SAP)
· Mark Hapner (Sun)
· Andy Astor (webMethods)
· Ed Cobb (BEA Systems)
Staffing N/A





Christine M. Santariga

Abstract: Spurred by a flurry of reaction to the April issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin and with ANSI's help, language has been added to the Congressional Judiciary Committee Report accompanying H.R. 1086, to prevent the Bill from restricting anti-trust protections to a handful of government-recognized SDOs.

In the April issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin, we detailed and analyzed several key implications of Congressional Bill H.R. 1086, currently under review, which addresses the eligibility of many standard setting consortia for a measure of immunity from antitrust penalties under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act (NCRPA).

We were delighted by reaction to the article, which suggests that its appearance helped a number of organizations, as well as individual companies, recognize and more fully understand the scope and potential consequences of the Bill, as it would affect them and the standards setting community as a whole.

We are especially pleased to report that the article initiated a dialogue with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which has been actively involved in the Congressional initiative and the drafting of H.R. 1086. ANSI subsequently agreed to propose the inclusion of language addressing our concerns, regarding its potential to negatively impact consortia, in the report submitted by the House Judiciary Committee in connection with the Bill. The language, drafted by Lucash, Gesmer & Updegrove, states that H.R. 1086 should not be interpreted to imply that consortia are not eligible for NCRPA coverage.

We are grateful to ANSI for its cooperation in submitting this language for inclusion in the Committee report and pleased to partner with ANSI for the benefit of the entire standard-setting community. The House has not yet voted on H.R. 1086, and should the outcome be less than favorable, there will still be opportunities to influence debate when the Bill reaches the Senate floor. Standard setting is still a relatively new and unknown arena, but an extremely important and burgeoning one. While it has traditionally received little public or governmental attention, recently it has gained considerable attention by the media (Bluetooth, W3C, etc.), the Federal Courts (Rambus v. Infineon), the FTC (Rambus antitrust suit), and Congress (H.R. 1086). We encourage continued involvement by consortia and their members in encouraging Congress to act favorably toward standard setting in any industry-recognized venue.




Christine M. Santariga

Abstract: The new patent policy adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) seeks to ensure that recommendations and standards developed by the organization will be implemented on a Royalty-Free basis. The final draft of the policy, following several years of closely watched debate, may have a significant impact on the intellectual property rights policies of standard-setting organizations across the board.

On Tuesday May 20th, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ratified its new Patent Policy in a meeting in Budapest. The new policy governs the intellectual property protections of W3C's Internet technology standards with the expressed goal of ensuring that "Recommendations produced under this policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis." (See link to W3C's policy below) The final draft of the policy, following several years of closely watched debate, may have a significant impact on the intellectual property rights policies of standard-setting organizations across the board.

The new policy requires that participants in the development process of W3C standards and recommendations disclose patented assets and patent applications. Likewise, those viewing and reviewing technical drafts must also disclose knowledge of any applicable patents. The policy seeks to ensure that, aside from exception cases, standards and recommendations by the W3C can be implemented on a royalty-free basis.

The policy also outlines specific procedures to address the situation whereby a third party, unassociated with the W3C, unexpectedly discloses an applicable patent. According to the policy, each "exception" case will be investigated by a Patent Advisory Group (PAG) formed on an ad hoc basis in reaction to the specific issue. PAGs will include representatives of the W3C member companies involved in developing the specification, as well as legal staff representing the overall interests of the consortium, and may include legal staff representing member organizations. In investigating and resolving exception cases, a PAG may recommend legal analysis, alteration of specification elements to avoid royalty claims, consideration of licensing term alternatives, or abandonment of the work effort or of the specification if already issued.

The new patent policy has been widely accepted and endorsed by W3Cs membership. It replaces a less defined policy that did not include adequate provisions to prevent royalty-bearing patent claims from inhibiting the development of interoperable Internet standards.

But finalizing the terms of the patent policy involved a process that took several years, often characterized by contentious debate. The W3C debate of royalty-free standards also evokes passion on both sides of the ongoing conflict between some software providers and open-source advocates. Software providers often stand to gain significant revenues from royalty-bearing patent claims. Open source communities, on the other hand, benefit from a development environment and technology that are open and accessible. W3C's new policy, which is built on a specific royalty-free basis but still includes provisions for exception cases, represents a compromise.

W3C's closely watched and long anticipated patent policy reinforces the openness of the Internet by guaranteeing and firmly endorsing the desirability of royalty-free standards and recommendations. Mandating royalty-free standards and specifications is a bold step that could encourage other standard setting organizations who are seeing the implementation of their standards threatened by potentially prohibitive royalty claims.

Daniel Weitzner, W3C Technology and Society Domain Leader and chair of the Patent Policy Working Group, told an reporter: "For a number of members, [the vote] reflected substantive support for this policy. I think it also reflected a sense that this was certainly a hard-fought compromise. I think even for those members who might have preferred a different policy, they were willing to support this because they saw it was a policy that the entire consortium could live and work with."

We have consistently made a similar point to our consortium clients, in testimony in Washington, and at (see that intellectual property policies must represent reasonable compromises in order to facilitate standards creation and adoption. Efforts by any single member, or group of members, to steer a policy to one extreme or another will inevitably undermine the ability of all members to achieve the goals for which the organization was formed.

To view W3C's Patent Policy, see

For additional articles detailing and analyzing the policy, see the following:

W3C Adopts Patent Policy,

W3C Readies New Tech Patent Policy,,4814,81309,00.html

W3C Makes Patent Ban Final,



On May 21, 2003, INCITS Director Kathleen (Kate) McMillan passed away, following a courageous battle with cancer. Kate served the standards community since 1988 and guided the INCITS Secretariat through several transitions during her years as Director. We offer our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. Her colleagues at INCITS have shared the following sentiments with us: "[Kate McMillan's] loyalty, intelligence and generous spirit were matched only by her sense of humor. We will miss her."




Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events is a new category for the News Shorts section of the Consortium Standards Bulletin. It highlights selected upcoming meetings, seminars, and activities pertaining to consortium and standard setting organizations and initiatives

The Supplier.Net: SME Supplier Adoption Workshop
June 4, 2003 - Palo Alto California

The Open Network for Commerce Exchange (ONCE), a business-to-business (B2B) alliance of electronic trading networks, and CommerceNet, an organization focused on building the world’s largest open network of interoperable business services, announced a new initiative aimed at developing a catalog management solution to cost-effectively link suppliers to enterprises for e-sourcing and e-procurement processes.... The organizations are hosting a free workshop on Wednesday, June 4, 2003 to provide interested companies with the opportunity to participate in the project that will develop a low cost simple-to-use software program to enable SMEs to create, manage and publish accurate and meaningful product information.

For the workshop press release, see:

Additional workshop details are available at:

Registration details are available at:

First Plenary Meeting of the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP)
June 9 - 10, 2003 - Gaithersburg, MD

ANSI has issued a meeting announcement for the first plenary meeting of its Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP), a group that was created to accelerate development and adoption of consensus standards critical to homeland security.

For an article detailing the May 7 meeting whereby the Interim Steering Committee agreed to a Charter, initial priorities, and four coordinating committees, see:

W3C Workshop: The Long Term Future of P3P and Enterprise Privacy Languages
June 18 - 20, 2003 - Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

The results of this workshop will inform W3C's decision making on future P3P strategy, stimulate discussions of new developments and directions for the long-term future of P3P and privacy metadata based solutions in general and facilitate coordination with organizations engaged in related efforts.

For a related story, see: Call for Participation in W3C P3P and Enterprise Privacy Policy Workshop,

"Middleware That Works" - Free Seminar
June 23, 2003 - Dallas, TX
June 24, 2003 - San Francisco, CA

"Middleware That Works" is OMG's nationwide seminar series focusing on CORBA's continuing popularity as an integration platform as shown by many recent new applications. Experts will explain how CORBA works with the Model Driven Architecture(tm) and Web Services, and describe the variety of distributed applications that rely on CORBA today, ranging from small realtime and embedded systems to large enterprise-level servers working in telecommunications, finance, government, manufacturing, and other domains.

For more information about the seminar and logistical details, see:

Consortium and Standards News

The World of Standards

The World of Standards is also a new category for the CSB. It highlights the pervasive use and impact of standards, both within and surrounding the consortia arena.

PwC Report Shows XBRL Still the Wave of the Future

Standards are not only important to facilitate the use of technology, but to enable important policy initiatives as well - such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is intended to help clean up corporate financial impropriety.

May 8, 2003 - XBRL is expected to continue its growing influence on business reporting, especially in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era of enhanced transparency and accountability, reported Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Technology Forecast: 2003-2005 identifies technology trends and reports that standards such as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and enhanced knowledge and integration of systems can provide the real-time information that employees need to operate efficiently, thus boosting investor confidence.

To access the full story and report, see the following link. Please note that to view the text, users must register for the free AccountingWeb service:

For the PwC press release and access to the Technology Forecast report, see:

FAO's AgMES Project Releases a New Application Profile for Encoding Metadata

And in another example of the pervasive importance of standards, this article highlights how the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is using XML DTD to encode agricultural metadata for international information exchange.

May 12, 2003 - A new AgMES-AGRIS Application Profile has been published. An initiative of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, the AgMES (Agricultural Metadata Element Set) project addresses issues of semantic standards in the domain of agriculture with respect to description, resource discovery, interoperability, and data exchange. The AGRIS Profile builds upon Dublin Core. The AP includes an XML DTD; XML and RDF Schema are now under development.

For the full story, see:

CHeS Applauds Unification of Classification System of Goods and Services

A step in the right direction toward building standards that serve hospitals and patient care

Ann Arbor, MI, May 12, 2003 – The Coalition for Healthcare eStandards applauds the selection of the Uniform Code Council, Inc, by the United Nations Development Programme for managing the newly revised United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC). While this code has universal application to all products and services, this new standard offers critical value to the healthcare industry.... standards such as the one established by the UNSPSC will go a long way to reducing the $11 billion lost in healthcare due to redundant purchasing and the inefficient distribution of medical supplies.

For the full press release, see:

IRS Modernized e-File Team Releases New XML Schemas for Corporate Income Tax

From time to time we include news indicating the pervasiveness of the standards-based tools that pervade modern life.

May 5, 2003 - A posting from Barr Joan (US IRS Modernized e-File Team) announces the release of XML schemas governing e-filing of income tax information for US corporations. The release includes some 750 XML schema files used by tax preparation software developers and tax preparers in automated e-filing and validation of IRS forms data. The schemas cover TY2002 1120 forms, including the Production Release v1.0 (53 forms) and Candidate Release V2.0 (43 forms).

For the full story, see:


World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) United in Concerns for MPEG-4 Licensing

Toronto, Canada, May 21, 2003 – The World Broadcasting Unions Technical Committee (WBU-TC), [the] collective technical body for the world's eight broadcasting unions... believes that current licensing arrangements for MPEG4 Visual will be a major deterrent to its use... For MPEG4 Part 10 (H.264), an important successor technology, a licensing structure will be decided in the near future and it must not be a barrier to massive global adoption...

For the full press release, see:

Certification and Branding:

OASIS TC Approves Test Framework Documents for ebXML Messaging Service (ebMS) Version 2.0

May 16, 2003 - The OASIS ebXML Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance TC approved the ebXML Messaging Service (ebMS) v2 framework document, test suite, deployment guide templates as Committee Specs. The Test Framework can be used to support conformance testing and interoperability testing in different configurations, from point-to-point testing between business partners, to centralized configurations involving a test center.

For the full story, see:


Iraq Connects To The World With GSM Mobile Network

London, UK, 16 May 2003 - The GSM Association welcomes... the decision to build a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network in Iraq. The award of a contract to MCI clearly reflects recognition by the US Government of the value of GSM to Iraq’s integration with the rest of the region and the world... The GSM Association has been working with the US Government, MCI and its suppliers to facilitate the rapid installation and operation of the GSM network to provide immediate support to reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in Iraq.

For the full press release, see:

Global Standardization Groups Work to Enhance Collaboration on Communications Issues: Meetings focused on "Information on the Move"

The Global Standards Infrastructure involves many layers of organizations, and their influence overlaps. Coordination among these organizations is important to make sure that standards are additive in their effect, rather than conflicting.

Ottawa, Canada, May 1, 2003 - Senior representatives of the world's leading radio, information and communications technologies standards organizations met 27 April through May 1, 2003, in Ottawa, Canada, in a continuing show of support for the world-wide communications standards development processes and a renewed commitment towards improving communication collaboration between their respective organizations. The Eighth Global Standards Collaboration meeting (GSC-8)... included the Global Telecommunications Standards Collaboration (GTSC-1) and Global Radio Standards Collaboration (GRSC-1)... Areas of particular emphasis for GTSC and GRSC included the development of Next Generation Networks, security of networks, emergency communications services, broadband access, beyond third-generation mobile technology, with agreement on many other related topics and joint actions... The PSOs [also] shared information about Intellectual Property Rights issues worldwide, particularly copyrights related to software code reflected in standards and growing erosion of intellectual property rights protection in some venues outside of the PSO standardization process.

For the full release, see:

New Consortia:

Auto Industry Group to Upgrade Supply Chain with XML

May 13, 2003 - Auto industry e-services exchange Covisint has launched an IT consortium that aims to replace existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messaging with more flexible -- and less costly -- XML systems... Southfield, Mich.-based Covisint said the industry consortium includes automakers DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., and parts and technology vendors Johnson Controls Inc., Lear Corp. and Delphi Corp... the group is being launched to help find cheaper and more efficient ways for automakers to communicate directly with vendors about parts availability, engineering concerns and other issues... The specifications for the project are being developed in cooperation with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)...

For the full article, see:,10801,81193,00.html

For the full Covisint press release, see:

New Initiatives:

Major Internet Standards Group Working On Fast Plan To Can Spam

May 25, 2003 - The Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG) is working on a plan to end spam... The group is affiliated with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which sets the standards for the fundamental technologies that make the Internet possible...The ASRG expects quick results, with initial technologies that will take a big bite out of spam being deployed within months, and other key technologies being deployed in one to two years. Within two years, ASRG... chairman Paul Judge said he expects to see the proposed "consent-based communications framework" in place for e-mail, although work would be ongoing to keep it up-to-date...

For the full story, see:

OASIS Members Form Web Application Security Technical Committee

May 13, 2003 - A new OASIS Web Application Security Technical Committee will attempt to unite industry consensus and provide standards for web security vulnerabilities. The TC will extend the work of the Open Web Application Security (OWASP) VulnXML project that has been established for over a year. The TC will develop a classification scheme for web security vulnerabilities, threat and risk models, and an XML schema to describe web security conditions.

For the full story, see:

For more information from OASIS regarding the Web Application Security TC, see:

Group Works On E-Forms Standards

May 7, 2003 - A new team of US government and industry officials will spend the next five months evaluating standards for electronic forms, a CIO Council member said yesterday. The E-Forms for E-Government project was one of several pilots that involve XML and Web services. About forty government and industry representatives have joined the E-Forms for E-Government effort.

For the full story, see:

W3C Releases Ten Working Drafts for XQuery, XSLT, and XPath

While we do not usually include press releases regarding the advancement of a specification, as compared to the launch or completion of a process, the following report illustrates the extraordinary range and volume of the output of the W3C; many other projects have also advanced within the W3C in May as well:

May 06, 2003 - Through collaborative and coordinated effort between W3C's XML Query Working Group and XSL Working Group, a collection of ten working draft specifications has been issued for public review. "XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Data Model" and "XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Functions and Operators" are last call working drafts. XPath 2.0, XSLT 2.0, XQuery 1.0, and other specifications are dependent upon the data model, functions, and operators defined in these two working drafts.

For the full release, see:

For a related story, see:

OASIS Forms Business-Centric Methodology Technical Committee

May 05, 2003 - OASIS has issued a call for participation in a newly formed Business-Centric Methodology Technical Committee. The TC members plan to create a specification, which will provide business managers with a set of clearly defined methods with which to acquire agile and interoperable e-business information systems. The interoperability specification design will build upon existing research and technology such as the project work developed at DFAS.

For the full story and proposal details, see:

For more information from OASIS regarding the initiative, see:

To access the Business-Centric Methodology TC website, see:

New Standards/Specifications:

OASIS TC Approves Version 1.1 Specifications for Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)

May 27, 2003, OASIS has announced the approval of Version 1.1 Committee Specifications for the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). SAML is an XML-based framework for exchanging security information. The V1.1 release includes the SAML XML Assertion and Protocol Schemas, along with prose documentation: "Assertions and Protocol", "Bindings and Profiles", "Security and Privacy Considerations", "Conformance Program Specification", and "Glossary".

For the full story, see:

UDDI v2 Ratified as OASIS Open Standard: Building Block for Web Services Advances Within Open Process

Boston, MA, May 20, 2003 - The OASIS interoperability consortium announced that its members have approved the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration specification (UDDI) version 2.0 as an OASIS Open Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. UDDI enables companies and applications to dynamically publish, locate, and use Web services.

For the full story, see:

For a link to the UDDI Technical Committee, see:

For a related article, see:

AdsML Consortium Creates Electronic Data Exchange Standard for Advertising Industry

May 20, 2003 - The AdsML Consortium has announced an XML-based AdsML 1.0 specification, which will cover the means by which data is exchanged for all kinds of advertising, in all media and through all stages of an advertisement's lifecycle. The specification will define a set of business process models and an 'AdsML Envelope' XML message format that supports packaging, transmission, verification, validation, and routing of advertising content and related metadata.

For the full story, see:

Standardized Interface For Smart Card Personalization Becomes A Reality

13 May 2003 – GlobalPlatform... has defined a standard interface for the exchange of data between a personalization data preparation system and a personalization bureau. The new GlobalPlatform Load and Personalization Interface Specification v1.0, will, for the first time, enable Issuers to communicate in a standard way with different service providers during the personalization process... The GlobalPlatform Load and Personalization Interface Specification defines containers that allow personalized data to be transmitted, for GlobalPlatform multi-application cards or single application native static cards. The Specification also defines containers that allow personalization bureaus to use job related data transmission for batch preparation in accordance with the technical environment, job priority, cost or other Issuer criteria.

For the full press release, see:

IBM's Enterprise Privacy Authorization Language (EPAL)

May 9, 2003 - Research at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory has led to the publication of an Enterprise Privacy Authorization Language (EPAL) specification. EPAL is a formal language to specify fine-grained enterprise privacy policies. It concentrates on the core privacy authorization while abstracting from all deployment details such as data model or user-authentication. EPAL will be discussed at a June 2003 W3C P3P and Enterprise Privacy Policy Workshop.

For the full story, see:

W3C Comes Clean with SOAP 1.2 Standards

May 7, 2003 - The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) releases the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Version 1.2 Proposed Recommendation, consisting of the SOAP 1.2 Messaging Framework; SOAP 1.2 Adjuncts, and a Primer. SOAP is a lightweight protocol intended for exchanging data across the Web using XML in a way that is independent of any one operating system or messaging protocol.

For the full story, see:

Other New Releases:

W3C Index of Translations Showcases RDF and Internationalization Technologies

May 13, 2003 - W3C has announced a new RDF application, which generates static XHTML documents and dynamic views for indexes of translated W3C Technical Reports. Showcasing W3C Semantic Web, XML, and internationalization technologies, data for volunteer translations of W3C technical reports and related documents are now maintained in RDF encoded in XML. The application generates XHTML and RDF-encoded XML files using Python scripts and the RDFLib module.

For the full story, see:

IMTC Fights Patent Chaos in Multimedia Standardization

Geneva, Switzerland, May 6, 2003 - The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) announced the creation of a "Historical" archive relevant to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). This archive is designed to support the protection of its members against possible patent raiders, while assisting in enforcing the legitimate patent interests of its members... The new historical IMTC archive will contain information relevant to multimedia technology and standards, documenting the standardization process, as well as R&D efforts in the field of multimedia telecommunications.... there is an increasing need for such protection since patent raiders of multimedia standards are increasingly trying to reap the benefits of the efforts of others in this highly complex and competitive area of communications... The financial risks for vendors and operators can be enormous, running into many millions of dollars.... By clarifying the IPR situation for approved multimedia standards, the IMTC promotes the adoption of new technologies and the development of standard multimedia telecommunications products.

For the full story, see:

WS-I Issues First Interoperability Tests

May 6, 2003 - The WS-I has released its first set of interoperability testing tools aimed at helping vendors and enterprise developers ensure compliance with its Basic Profile 1.0, the key to ensuring their implemented web services will work across Java, C#/.NET and legacy environments. The tools are The Web Service Communication Monitor ("Monitor") and The Web Service Profile Analyzer ("Analyzer"). Developed by WS-I's Test Tools Working Group, they come in implementations for both C# and Java, and can be used on any web services platform.

For the full story, see:

Standard Setting Practices

Consumer Representatives in Standards Development to Benefit from Updated Guidance Document

May 12, 2003 - ISO and IEC have published a new guidance document for use by those who represent consumer interests in the standardization work of not only ISO and IEC, but also at the national level and to assist those who recommend the use of International Standards.

For the full story, see:

Mergers and Combinations

UCC Finalises Agreement with MIT; Forms Joint Venture with EAN International to Drive Standards for Electronic Product Code (EPC)™ Network

May 21, 2003 - EAN International and the Uniform Code Council, Inc. (UCC), leaders in facilitating efficient international business, announced today... the intention to establish AutoID, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that will develop and oversee commercial and technical standards for the Electronic Product Code (EPC)™ Network. The EPC™ Network, based on research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), uses radio frequency in combination with a network system to allow items or products to be identified.

For the full press release, see:

BSI Shaping the Future in Greater China

May 15, 2003 - The BSI Group today announced its acquisition of 100% ownership of BSI Pacific Ltd, formerly run as a 50:50 joint-venture with Intertek Testing Services (ITS), a well-known product testing and inspection company... The acquisition of BSIP enhances BSI's capability within Asia and provides an enhanced platform, which opens the way for concerted investment and a long-term commitment to growth. BSI plans to do this through the delivery of Management Systems' entire portfolio of products within the quality, environmental and risk arenas across multiple industry sectors.

For the full press release, see: