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SOA, Web Services, and RESTful Systems
Eric J. Bruno, DDJ
Representational state transfer, or "REST" for short, is a less restrictive form of SOA than web services. The Web is the premier example of a RESTful system, which makes sense since much of the Web's architecture preceded the definition of REST. What the Web makes clear, however, is that complex remote procedure call protocols are not needed to create successful, scalable, understandable, and reliable distributed software systems. Instead, the principals of REST are all you need. Overall, REST can be described as a technology and platform-independent architecture where loosely coupled components communicate via interfaces over standard web protocols. Software, hardware, and data-centric designs maximize system efficiency, scalability, and network throughput. The underlying principal is simplicity. REST differs from other software architecture in that it marries the concepts common to software architecture (interfaces, components, connectors, patterns, and so on) with those of network architecture (portability, bandwidth management, throughput measurement, protocol latencies, and so on). This combination makes REST ideal for distributed software systems where scalability, in terms of both processing power and communication efficiency, are critical. I've built many RESTful services, as well as web services, in different production systems with great success. In my experience, it's quicker and easier to build, deploy, and consume a REST service than a full-blown web service. If you haven't jumped into the world of SOA-based development because of the complexities of web-service development, give REST and this framework a try.
Mozilla + iTunes + Rhapsody = Songbird
Andy Patrizio, InternetNews.com
BPEL4People Aims to Bridge Gap Between Humans and SOA
Rich Seeley, SearchWebServices.com
Recognizing that service-oriented architecture (SOA) business processes involve people too, a group of vendors today published specifications aimed at extending the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) 2.0 standard to include human interaction. The BPEL4People specifications will be submitted to the OASIS standards body in the fall, but are ready for developers and architects to download today from the Web sites of the participating vendors, said Ed Cobb, vice president for emerging technologies and standards at BEA Systems Inc. The other vendors supporting the specifications are IBM, Oracle, SAP AG, Adobe Systems Inc. and Active Endpoints Inc. Michael Bechauf, vice president of industry standards at SAP: BPEL4People consists of two specifications -- WS-BPEL Extension for People layers features on top of the recently approved OASIS WS-BPEL 2.0 standard and describes human tasks as activities that may be incorporated as first-class components in WS-BPEL process definitions. The companion specification, Web Services Human Task, introduces the definition of stand-alone human tasks, including the properties, behavior and operations used to manipulate them. The two specifications are designed so they can either be used together or independently.
See also: the main news story
OASIS Members Form EKMI (Symmetric Encryption Key) TC
Staff, OASIS Announcement
Members of the OASIS international consortium have formed a committee to develop an open standard for managing symmetric encryption cryptographic keys across the enterprise. The OASIS Enterprise Key Management Infrastructure (EKMI) Technical Committee is working to standardize a royalty free Web services protocol that will enable client applications to request symmetric key-management services of a network-based server. The Committee is also working towards creating implementation, operations and audit guidelines for EKMI and an interoperability test suite to ensure compliant implementations of the protocol. The EKMI Technical Committee is part of the OASIS IDtrust Member Section, a group of that brings together companies, public sector agencies, and research institutions from around the world to promote greater understanding and use of standards-based technologies, policies, and practices for identity and trusted infrastructure. Representatives of Red Hat, the United States Department of Defense, Visa, and others make up the OASIS EKMI Technical Committee.
See also: the EKMI TC
Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover
A group of six technology vendors, including Active Endpoints, Adobe, BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, and SAP AG, has announced the publication of "BPEL4People" specifications, which define an approach for integrating human interactions using Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) 2.0. In July 2005, IBM and SAP jointly issued a white paper "WS-BPEL Extension for People—BPEL4People." It describes scenarios where users are involved in business processes, and motivates and outlines appropriate extensions to WS-BPEL to address these scenarios. BPEL4People as released in 2007-06 is now comprised of two specifications: "WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Version 1.0" and "Web Services Human Task (WS-HumanTask) Version 1.0". These two specifications take the ideas outlined in the white paper and together provide a concrete realization of them. BPEL4People extends the capabilities of WS-BPEL to support a broad range of human interaction patterns, allowing for expanded modeling of business processes within the WS-BPEL language. WS-BPEL focuses on business processes that orchestrate Web service interactions. However, in general, business processes are comprised of a broad spectrum of activities that most often require the participation of people to perform tasks, review or approve steps and enter data—for example, a credit approval scenario that may require approval on certain transaction limits or activity levels. These human interactions are now addressed in the new BPEL4People specifications. The authors of BPEL4People plan to submit the specifications to OASIS in the near future, and will propose a Technical Committee to produce an OASIS standard based on it.
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