Dancing around Web services

Disagreement over intellectual property issues could derail efforts to create new Web services standards.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) this week established a working group to define and establish rules for Web services choreography, which seeks to map out how Web services interact to form business transactions. Web services is an increasingly popular way to build and link business software.

The W3C hopes that by establishing a standardized language for choreography, businesses will be able to more quickly build complex applications that involve interlinking several Web services. Without a common language for choreography, the world of Web services risks balkanization, the W3C warns.

"There's this division of labor that's emerging between those who can develop (Web) services and those that can put them together to make an application," said Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at Iona Technologies and a member of the W3C's Web Services Architecture committee. "Choreography (is) about getting business analysts to put Web services together to build an application."

But questions about the intentions of some high-profile W3C members--Microsoft, IBM and BEA Systems--threaten to derail the possibility of an industrywide standard, said analysts and other observers.

Specifically, some W3C members, notably Microsoft, favor a plan that allows the collection of royalties for the use of intellectual property. "The W3C is trying to take a hard stand on royalties and patents," Newcomer said. "Microsoft is trying to move to a royalty-based model for the specification. This stalemate between Microsoft and the W3C is about the patent and royalties question."

News source: c|net

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