I'm attending the WS-I (Web Services Interop) Fall meeting this week and it's been a very enlightening experience. F5 has been involved with WS-I for a couple years now and we definitely support their agenda: to ensure interoperability and predictable success of Web services and standards.

There was a fantastic presentation by one of the members yesterday (a global financial institution). After walking through some of the details of their architecture and their challenges, they outlined some of the advantages of being a member of WS-I:

  1. WS-I provides a place to start. With all of the various Web services standards out there, it can be daunting to determine where a company should start. By providing Basic Profiles for using Web services reliably, WS-I helps cut through the noise and makes best practices more clear for companies
  2. Test tools ensure conformance. WSDL issues are a common challenge area for Web services conformance. The WS-I test tools can help here.
  3. Standards drive a schema-based approach. This ensures a much better structured approach to developing and deploying services that work well together.
  4. Best practices enable a smoother transition to SOA. Many companies are talking about and embracing Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). Ensuring smooth interoperability - that various services and technologies work together smoothly - is a great start to ensure more complex architectures will have few “plumbing" issues.
  5. Limits the “buck passing" between vendors. Put simply, the WS-I profiles provide a vendor-neutral, standards based set of recommendations and testing tools. This litmus test makes for an objective set of requirements in between services from multiple vendors that ensure that they are offering conformant offerings that play well with others. It also isolates where problems exist mitigating that “it's vendor 'x's' fault“.

So, if you are working with Web services technology or experiencing challenges related to the items mentioned above, you should check out the WS-I. It's a great organization comprised of both leading vendors AND end users building advanced Web services applications. There are some great documents to get a better feel for what WS-I offers on the WS-I site. To learn more about membership, click here.

If you are a member and using the Basic Profile, let me know. I'd like to learn more about your experiences.