IT vendors prepare SOA specs for submission to Oasis

By China Martens, IDG News Service |  SOA

A group of 18 software vendors made good on their previous commitment to hand over service-oriented architecture specifications to standards bodies once those specifications, designed to make it easier for users to develop SOA-based applications, reach maturity.

One of the issues users are encountering as they adopt the SOA approach to developing reusable software and services is the lack of standards between different vendors' SOA software, making integration of third-party products difficult.

Members of the Open SOA Collaboration announced Wednesday that they will hand over their jointly developed Service Component Architecture (SCA) and non-Java C++ Service Data Objects (SDO) specifications to the Oasis standards body for further development. They will turn over their Java SDO specification work to the Java Community Process (JCP), the group that sets Java standards. The Java SDO work originated in JCP in 2003.

SCA focuses on defining models to create and assemble service components to build SOAs, while SDO aims to provide a consistent method for data handling within SOA applications.

The SCA specifications include full support for BPEL (business process execution language), the Spring Java development framework, Java and C++. The specifications also include an assembly model describing how SOA components interact with each other so that the developers, assemblers and deployers of individual components can deal with a consistent model, according to Michael Bechauf, vice president of industry standards at SAP AG.

The Open SOA Collaboration brings together companies that are more used to competing with each other than collaborating, including BEA Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Iona Technologies PLC, Oracle Corp., Red Hat Inc., SAP, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Xcalia SA.

"This is a big step forward for our customers," said Karla Norsworthy, vice president, software standards at IBM. "We're very pleased with the maturity of the specifications."

When the initial members of the Open SOA Collaboration first got together in November 2005, they promised to work on specifications to define a language-neutral programming model for SOA application development and to formally submit those specifications once they reached a mature state. The Collaboration has always been careful to brand itself as an informal coming together of vendors and not a standards body.

After the specifications have been formally submitted to Oasis, the standards body will establish several new technical committees, according to Patrick Gannon, president and CEO of Oasis. Those committees should start holding their first meetings some time in June, he said.

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