Fifteen companies, including some leading high-tech vendors, have launched the Web Services Test Forum (WSTF) to speed up Web services interoperability testing among their products.
They include IBM (NYSE: IBM), Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), TIBCO (NASDAQ: TIBX), and automaker Ford Motor (NYSE: F).
" We view this as a complement to the processes standards bodies have," Karla Norsworthy, IBM's vice president of software standards, said today at a teleconference announcing the WSTF. "We can't wait for the processes to be complete before we start testing."
However, the move may ignite a battle among standards bodies because Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is not signing on.
Microsoft declined an invitation to join the forum, IBM's Norsworthy said. "I think we all have ways to continue to test with Microsoft and will continue to do that," she added. "But we would love to have them join."
Paul Cotton, Microsoft's group manager, Web services standards and partners, told InternetNews.com by e-mail that the company has not heard of customer interest in the creation of new, alternative interoperability organizations such as that recommended by the WSTF proposal.
"Microsoft is deeply committed to Web services interoperability, as evidenced by our long-standing involvement in the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization," Cotton said. "WS-I is a cross-industry initiative designed to accelerate the development and deployment of interoperable Web services across platforms, applications and programming languages."
Microsoft believes that WS-I provides a proven and open organization and process that best suits its customers' needs, Cotton added. WS-I, the Web Services Interoperability Organization, is an open industry organization chartered to establish best practices for Web services interoperability for selected groups of Web services standards.
Never friends forever
Microsoft has previously worked with IBM, VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) and RSA, the security arm of storage vendor EMC (NYSE: EMC) to develop the WS-Federation specification. This uses XML and other Web services criteria to define mechanisms that let developers manage and establish trust relationships across companies and domains that use different types of security solutions.
"The range of standards organizations such as OASIS, W3C, and more consensus-driven efforts like WS-I, and vendor driven efforts all have their own good points, but they highlight the need for a more lightweight open test community," Steve Harris, senior vice president of Oracle's Java platform group, said. OASIS, the W3C and WS-I all develop Web services standards.