WS-Addressing Submitted to W3C

by David A. Chappell

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The WS-Addressing specification has been submitted to the W3C by the joint authors. While this marks a significant step forward in the "standardization" of the WS-* stack of specs, this is only the first step in the development/ratification of the spec within the W3C process.

The submission in its current state is referred to as a "member submission". This means that WS-Addressing has now become more "standard-y" than it was before, but not much more. Nevertheless I am feeling positively optimistic about this.

One of the next steps that would logically follow is the formation of a Working Group. Sometime after that it eventually comes out the other side as a W3C "Recommendation (with many steps in between).

The concept of addressing is something that most of the other Web services specs rely on. WS-Addressing specifies an interoperable EndPoint Reference (EPR) in the form of SOAP header information. The EPR contains information about where messages come from, where they should go, and where to send them when they are bad :) More specifically, the spec defines headers such as MessageID, From, To, ReplyTo, and FaultTo.

I'm feeling very positive about this. Because WS-Addressing has been considered proprietary, it has been a bone of contention within other standards efforts such as WS-BPEL and WS-Notification within OASIS. WS-BPEL decided to abstract the concept so they didn't have the direct dependency. In the WS-Notification Technical Committee (TC), we have been faced with possibly making the same decision.

One of the issues surrounding the use of WS-Addressing in other standards efforts has been the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the spec authors. Making this submission may makes that less of an issue, although I'm not completely clear on how much less. Perhaps someone else can comment on the IPR issue.

Interestingly enough, this specification is now at the same status and IPR policies as WSDL 1.1. Most people don't realize this, but WSDL 1.1, which is in widespread use, only ever got as far as a "member submission" (formerly known as a "W3C Note"), and is encumbered with the IPR as defined in the spec.