Drummond Group Forms AS4 Initiative for Web Services Interoperability
Drummond Group Announces Formation of AS4 at OASIS Which Offers AS2 Simplicity for Web Services
Subcommittee to Profile ebMS 3.0
Austin, TX, USA. April 15, 2008.
Drummond Group Inc, the leading B2B software certification authority, announced today that it has transitioned a set of functional requirements developed with Cisco, Extol, Sterling Commerce and others over to the OASIS ebXML Messaging Services Technical Committee (ebMS 3.0) which will provide a standardized entry-level on-ramp for secure, payload-agnostic document exchange using Web services. These functional requirements are based on mapping IETF RFC 4130 (AS2) to a simplified composition of WS-* specifications and WS-I profiles in an effort to promote the adoption and interoperability of Web services for B2B messaging.
With the recent publication of the ebMS 3.0 specification and its foundation on WS-* specifications and WS-I profiles, it seemed natural that this body of work should be realized as a Conformance Profile of ebMS 3.0. Recently, the OASIS ebXML Messaging Services TC approved the creation of a subcommittee to develop a profile of ebMS 3.0 entitled AS4: Secure B2B Document Exchange Using Web Services.
For nearly a year, Drummond Group has facilitated meetings with a group of software vendors who recognized the need to address lingering interoperability issues and the practical desire to reduce complexity associated with Web services messaging. While many of the vendors involved in this effort had experienced implementing the widely successful AS2 (RFC 4130) messaging protocol, the Web services standards landscape was largely devoid of a similar "simple and elegant" solution for secure document exchange over a WS-* based specification stack.
Furthermore, the group recognized that compliance to conformance engine testing is not a replacement for full-matrix interoperability testing to ensure supply chains and vertical markets with a robust pool of interoperable software implementations. After surveying the existing Web services standards landscape, it was clear that this group of vendors shared some common goals with the ebMS 3.0 technical committee at OASIS, and that an industry-sponsored profile of ebMS 3.0 presented a win-win scenario for a simplified on-ramp to Web services B2B messaging.
"It is exciting to see this work finally coming to fruition, says Rik Drummond, CEO Drummond Group Inc. "I congratulate each participating vendor for their patience and diligence in building this important body of work. We are so pleased to work with the OASIS ebMS 3.0 technical committee. Web services messaging is loosely defined in a variety of places, but this work builds on constraining the options to make it simpler and easier to implement and more importantly — interoperable! The buyers of Web services technology will thank those involved for their effort."
Drummond Group will also be launching a new software development program for this new profile that will allow software vendors to develop an interoperable product base together. This program will be testing the interoperability of each vendor's implementation as it is being developed rather than testing after product development is complete. This iterative approach to "develop a little and test a little" will allow vendors to have fewer code mistakes and eliminate misinterpretations and discrepancies in various implementations of standards that plague interoperability and bring products to market much more rapidly.
"The OASIS ebXML messaging services TC is pleased to be viewed as delivering a fit-for-purpose robust messaging system for B2B use with Version 3 of our messaging standard. We are delighted to be working with our colleagues to produce a conformance profile to meet the needs of the current AS2 community that has been such a success in delivering real business benefits," says Ian Jones, chair of the OASIS ebXML messaging services TC. "Personally, I believe this shows the foresight and diligence that all the members of the TC have shown in developing this standard so that it is ready to help a range of communities solve B2B problems."
"Web services already offer great value for on-demand information access and near-real time integration," says Jim O'Leary, vice president of product management, for Extol International, Inc. "The AS4 initiative will increase the business value of web services between web service implementations, putting these projects within the scope of the limited resources and existing skill sets available at most mid sized organizations."
"Standards are a critical component of our customers' integration strategies because they must have the flexibility to interoperate with all partners across various industries and marketplaces," said Chris Johnson, vice president of product management, B2B, for Sterling Commerce. "We are proud to support the AS4 standard as it will turn the hype of Web Services into the reality of an evermore powerful and easier-to-use multi-enterprise business processes."
AS4 Webinar: Drummond Group will be presenting a webinar on AS4 in the coming month. If you are interested in attending or learning more, please send an e-mail to Joani@drummondgroup.com
For more information on AS4:
To join the AS4 subcommittee:
About Drummond Group Inc.
Drummond Group Inc. (DGI), a global leader in B2B software testing and certification, works with software vendors, industry associations, supply chains and the standards community by conducting interoperability and conformance testing on open standards, publishing related strategic research and developing vertical industry strategies. Founded in 1999, DGI has tested hundreds of international software products used in vertical industries such as automotive, consumer product goods, financial services, government, petroleum, pharmaceutical and retail. For more information, please visit www.drummondgroup.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.