Aug. 6, 2003 12:41 PM
This year's JavaOne provided a good overview of the state of Web
services today. This show report focuses on XML and Web services
coverage at the event.
Java and Web Services
The J2EE community is working to better integrate Web
services technologies into the platform. The J2EE 1.4 platform will
provide a fully integrated Web services model, with support for SOAP
1.1, WSDL 1.1, and XML 1.0. The second beta of the J2EE 1.4 was
announced during the conference.
Also announced was the availability of the Web Services
Development Pack (WSDP) 1.2, which provides a set of enhanced XML and
Web services capabilities. The 1.2 release included updates to the
following APIs: JAXP and JAXB for working with XML; JAXM, SAAJ, and
JAX-RPC for XML messaging; and JAXR for XML registries.
Additionally, the 1.2 release includes support for the new
JavaServer Faces technology and XML encryption and digital signature
Announcements were made on the planned 2.0 releases of
JAX-RPC and JAXB. JAX-RPC 2.0 will be updated to reflect the latest
Web services specifications, SOAP 1.2 and WSDL 1.2. JAXB 2.0 will
also be enhanced to support "partial mapping," a much-needed
enhancement for XML binding. Sun also announced that JAXB, JAX-RPC,
and SAAJ will be released to the open source community.
Importance of Interoperability
Increased interoperability is one of the key reasons
enterprises are leveraging Web services today. However, many are
still trying to determine how J2EE and .NET Web services can be
integrated. The Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization was
put in place specifically to address these interoperability issues.
There was great emphasis placed on WS-I support at this year's
The most promising news around interoperability was the
announcement that the J2EE 1.4 specification will be updated to
support the WS-I basic profile (BP). While the BP addresses only the
lower parts of the Web services stack, it will go a long way in
resolving some of the current J2EE interoperability issues. Both the
J2EE 1.4 beta 2 and WSDP 1.2 that were announced included support for
the WS-I work.
WS-I is also developing sample applications demonstrating
interoperability between vendors. At the JavaOne Pavilion, I was able
to see live demonstrations from both Oracle and SAP demonstrating a
supply chain management sample application.
Ease of Development
One of the more exciting announcements was around the J2SE
1.5 "Tiger" release. Many of the enhancements being made in 1.5 make
Java development easier. This includes implementation of the Java
Specification Request (JSR) 175, a metadata facility allowing methods
and classes to be annotated. Building on this work is JSR 181, a
BEA-led initiative that defines an annotated Java format for defining
Web services in J2EE. BEA WebLogic Workshop already includes support
for this through JavaDoc annotation tags.
Project Rave, a development tools platform focused on the
needs of the corporate developer, will support JavaServer Faces and
Web services. With this tool, a developer could construct a Web-based
application and easily connect to an existing Web ser-vice through
WSDL or UDDI. An early-access release will be available in the fall
Security and Management
WS-Security and the Liberty Alliance received a lot of
attention. WS-Security provides a set of SOAP enhancements to support
authentication, authorization, and access control. The Liberty
Alliance is an industry consortium focused on providing a framework
for managing a network of federated identities.
Current Java XML security initiatives are JSR105, 106, and
155, focused on XML-DSIG, XML-Encryption, and SAML. While there are
no current JSRs addressing WS-Security and Liberty, vendors are
already providing APIs to support these initiatives.
This year's conference also showed a growing interest in Web
services management (WSM), including monitoring operational health,
gaining business insights from the data, managing security, and SLAs.
Challenges of WSM identified included management of distributed and
heterogeneous platforms; tracking different quality-of-service
levels; and managing the aggregation of Web services. An important
distinction was made between managing the platform and managing the
Web services themselves.
Web Services Collaboration
Web services collaboration garnered a lot of attention at
JavaOne. While standards like WSCI and BPEL4WS have been in the press
lately, the majority of the talks were focused on ebXML.
ebXML is more focused on B2B environments, providing a suite
of middleware components for facilitating collaboration between
trading partners. ebXML provides support for reliable messaging,
trading partner agreements, registries, and business processes. One
question that was raised was how ebXML related to WS-Security,
WS-Reliability, and WS-BPEL.
Two JSRS specific to business processes were announced at
JavaOne. JSR 207 is a specification defining metadata and runtime
interfaces for incorporating business processes in Java. The Java
Business Integration (JBI) JSR 208 extends J2EE to support business
integration. Both JSRs mentioned the need to support the emerging
standards of BPEL4WS, WSCI, and/or WS-Choreography.