New Committee Focuses on Presentation of Web Services

OASIS, a consortium of companies working to solve XML interoperability issues, has formed a subcommittee to develop a new Web services standard that will work in conjunction with existing standards and protocols including SOAP, UDDI and WSDL.

Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard Company and IBM Corp. are among a group of industry heavyweights spearheading the effort, which OASIS says will yield a new standard called the Web Services Component Model. WSCM will provide a coordinated set of XML vocabularies and Web services interfaces for delivering Web applications to end users through multiple channels, including a browser, portal or embedded third-party Web application.

IBM’s Charles Wiecha, chair of the WSCM committee, says WSCM is not competitive with existing standards and protocols for creating Web services, but rather builds on their architectures to give developers more capability to create system-to-system and application-to-application integrations.

“Think of it as another layer that comes on top of WSDL,” says Wiecha.

Wiecha says WSCM is an industry standard mechanism for packaging the display component of Web services. He says, while Simple Object Access Protocol handles the transport of data, and Web Services Description Language the expression of data, WSCM will focus on the presentation end.

Tyler McDaniel, director of applications strategy for IT consultancy the Hurwitz Group, sees WSCM as part of a natural evolution of the Web services model. “[WSCM]’s intent is to start up the next phase of Web services,” he says. This next step, says McDaniel, involves automating the integration of disparate applications and machines.

“With SOAP and WSDL,” says McDaniel, “what we’re primarily talking about is the underlying layers. With WSCM, it’s more focused on ‘OK you’ve located the data, but how are you going to present it.’”

Wiecha envisions WSCM being used in the framework of Universal Description, Discovery and Integration as well. “What you get in the UDDI piece is best-of-breed presentation,” he says, explaining that with WSCM he believes UDDI registries will be split into two different searchable categories, one for presentation components and one for data components.

According to Wiecha, WSCM will draw upon similar efforts from other standards bodies, including UN/CEFACT, ISO and W3C. Specifically, says Wiecha, WSCM will be closely tied to the W3C’s Web application programming models, namely XForms and XLink.

XForms and XLink are specifications for creating device-autonomous Web forms and links between XML documents. Both XForms and XLink have their own working groups, and Wiecha anticipates setting up a cross-membership arrangement between those groups and the WSCM committee.

The WSCM committee will consider contributions of related work from any groups or companies that wish to submit them. The Web Services User Interface, an initiative proposed by a working group of software providers earlier this year, has already expressed interest in offering its specification to the WSCM committee. And IBM intends to contribute its Web Services Experience Language spec., a Web services-centric component model for interactive Web applications.

Initial members of the OASIS WSCM Technical Committee include Cisco Systems, CrossWeave, Cyclone Commerce, DataChannel, Documentum, Epicentric, HP, IBM, Logistics ManagementInstitute, Macromedia, Netegrity, Sterling Commerce, U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency, and WebCollage.

Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems – both members of the OASIS consortium – have yet to join the WSCM committee. “We’ve presented the proposal to [Microsoft and Sun],” says Wiecha. “Both are welcome to sign up for the committee at any time.”

Though Microsoft and Sun are believed by many to be the market leaders in the Web services space, McDaniel doesn’t think their absence from the committee will hurt WSCM’s adoption rate. “With OASIS and the many vendors behind [WSCM], this is a legitimate effort.”

Still, McDaniel believes it is in the best interest of Microsoft and Sun to join the WSCM committee. “I would say Sun and Microsoft should pursue getting actively involved here.”

The WSCM Technical Committee is slated to begin regular meeting in January of 2002.


To read IBM’s WSXL reference document, visit

OASIS will host an open mail list,, for public comment on WSCM. Completed work will be freely available to the public without licensing or other fees.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.