WS-Transactions update

Ok, so now that I’ve written about what we did after we finished our work, how about I write about the work we did?
After the WS-TX face to face meeting in Redmond, Stefan Tilkov emailed me some questions which ended up in an interview posted on the InfoQ site, which covers the big picture pretty well.
Since WS-TX was chartered about a year ago, we have been working to refine the three submitted V1.0 specs and progress them to achieve a status as the adopted standards of an independent consortium. Ultimately standards are all about adoption – many specs have been written that go nowhere, while other technologies have become standard without ever going through the committee process.
For the WS-Transactions specifications I’d say we are getting what you’d call sufficient critical mass: IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat (JBoss), and IONA all currently provide implementations. In addition we also have regular participation from Sun, Hitachi, Oracle, Nortel, Fujitsu, Adobe, Tibco, Choreology, and individuals (John Harby) – all of whom attended this face to face either in person or via phone. This is pretty good considering the work is nearly completed.
So what do we spend our time doing? Processing issues from the issue list.
The email archives are public, as are the documents and meeting minutes. You can tell we spend a lot of time debating the exact wording.
The standards process is all about opening up the discussion to anyone interested in participating. The goal is consensus and broad adoption and typically the price is speed. It is harder to get a larger group to agree on something than it is to get a smaller group to agree on something.
In case of Web services specifications, many times the specifications are fairly mature by the time they are submitted to an OASIS or W3C committee.
In general the way the work progresses is that anyone interested can review a specification and submit an issue. The TC members then debate and typically vote to resolve an issue. Often resolving an issue involves a change to the specification, and the cycle starts again. The expectation is that each new cycle brings the specification closer to completion, because the issues become less significant as the spec is refined.
Because we are getting close to the end, we have been spending more time on “fit and finish” issues and polishing up the text than we did when we first started. One of the major issues for the recent face to face was getting the specs consistent with RFC 2119 (yes, there is a standard for using certain words in standards ;-).
On the WS-TX TC home page you can also find links to home pages for each of the three specifications:
WS-C V1.1 and WS-AT V1.1 entered their 60-day public review mid September, and so we also had the chance at the F2F to discuss and resolve issues submitted during the public review process, which is basically the final cycle. WS-BA 1.1 will be going into the public review phase soon, again based on the work we did during the F2F.
Once the specifications have completed their public reviews the next step will be to submit them to become OASIS standards. If they are accepted, the work of the TC is essentially completed.

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