This past Monday, IBM, with the help of others launched the Web Services Test Forum (WSTF). My colleague from Oracle, Gil Pilz, has written a really nice piece on why WSTF is needed and explains the value that it will hopefully bring to the community.
I've been bending a few ears here at the Gartner ADI conference and have heard WSTF mentioned in a couple of contexts, including hearing from at least one prospective member indicating an interest in participating.
Gil's explanation should be required reading, but allow me to just weigh in on a couple of key points.
The first is that we see WSTF as complimentary to WS-I. WS-I is still providing a great service to the community in helping the community understand where the bar is, so to speak, and also in helping the vendor community find that bar in a manner that ensures consensus. It may be a slow process in some people's eyes, but it is definitely a value add. Next year, we should see the approval of at least 3 new profiles (Basic Profile 1.2 and 2.0 and Reliable Secure Profile 1.0) as well as implementations that conform to these new profiles shipping from your favorite vendors.
WSTF provides us with a forum that allows us to test not only the technologies covered in the new (and past) WS-I profiles, but also allows for the testing of technologies that may not be finished (from a standardization perspective) as well as to test some of the more "creative" aspects of applying those technologies that are included in the WS-I profiles, but which may not have been incuded in testing to date.
There are many more reasons why WSTF adds value and each of these is articulated in Gil's post. I strongly encourage you to go read it.
All in all, this is a good week in the cause for interoperabilty of Web services.
Update: I just realized that Doug Davis also posted an article on WSTF on IBM's developerWorks site. Please do go read that as well!
WSTF Launch - why you should care
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