Wrong Reaction on Policy Initiative

The common reaction to any proposed WS-* spec these days is perhaps rightly sceptical, since there are already so many of them and it’s very hard to tell whether anything new is warranted.
But Paul Krill mistakenly applies this reaction to the news of last week’s Constraints and Capabilities Workshop sponsored by the W3C.
The Workshop wasn’t aimed at creating new specs. Its purpose was to discuss whether or not the industry needed an open process (possibly initiated by the W3C) for additional work on the aspect of Web services description commonly known as “policy.” Several WS-* policy specs already exist, as does a proposal from the XACML group at OASIS called the Web Services Policy Language.
Workshop attendees included the authors of these specifications and the authors of Rei, a “universal” policy language in the research and prototype stage. Policy is widely recognized through the variety of efforts underway as a critical aspect of Web services metadata definition and management.
So this was a case in which various aspects of the problem were explored in the context of trying to identify the best candidate solution and therefore to bring the community together, not create yet another specification.
It’s clear that the WS-* specification complexity issue has reached the point at which we all need to be concerned about it, but we also should be careful not to blow it out of proportion so that even efforts to simplify the situation in a given area (such as policy) are viewed as contributing to the problem, when the opposite is in fact true.


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