In a perfect world, Web services would form a quilt out of the patchwork of IT industry products, sewing together software from partners and foes alike with the thread provided by common standards. But in reality, software vendors may not be working toward such neatly-tailored interoperability. Thus, the need for the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)--a consortium of standards of interoperability across platforms, applications, and programming languages--has become essential to the development of future technology products and solutions.
The already formidable WS-I organization--which counts more than 125 companies among its members--is still growing. With top industry players like IBM, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard leading the pack on further WS-I development, content management developer Vignette Corporation recently decided to join the ranks as well. Vignette is hoping to lend its expertise in content management and ecommerce to the mix in an effort to standardize an approach to emerging XML-based applications.
Of the move to join the WS-I, Darrin Wood, senior product marketing manager for mobile solutions at Vignette Corporation says, "We fully support industry standards, and we're excited about joining the WS-I because standards are becoming increasingly important in creating more efficient business processes with our customers, employees, suppliers, and other business partners." Initially, Vignette plans to join the WSBasic Profile working group, which is defining how to use standards like SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI as a foundation for Web services.
With its V6 flagship content management solution, Vignette plans to provide Web services support for the XML Schema, Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) standards. V6 also spans both J2EE and .Net platforms.
"Vignette's company developers thoroughly understand that the architecture of Web Services is not fully crystallized," says Wood. And, without guidance, Vignette worries that the standards will fragment.
With that perspective in mind, the WS-I working groups, including Vignette, are focused on grouping key Web services standards into profiles to simplify implementation and promote interoperability. And they understand that, by creating a road map for the long-term evolution of Web services, companies will better understand the rules so they can develop software with shared standards and objectives in order to fulfill the promise of Web services.