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W3C steps up Web services work

The influential Web standards body issues a new working draft and co-sponsors a security talk fest, both on Web services.

The Web's leading standards body is forging ahead with new Web services initiatives, putting out a new draft proposal and co-sponsoring an August meeting on security.

see special report: Web services: The new buzz The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Monday released its first working draft of the Web Services Architecture Usage Scenarios, a document that outlines potential uses for Web services to help guide W3C working groups designing Web services recommendations.

Monday's working draft joins a trio of related documents published by the W3C this summer: Web Service Description Requirements, Web Service Description Usage Scenarios and Web Services Architecture Requirements.

The stepped-up pace of publications follows vociferous complaints that the W3C was late to the Web services party. The W3C formed its Web Services Activity in January.

In the consortium's drafts, "architecture" means the way in which the various Web services technologies and specifications, such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL, pronounced "wizdl"), fit together.

While the "usage scenario" documents outline practical applications for a specification, the "requirements" more abstractly define what capabilities the spec must have.

The W3C also announced its co-sponsorship, with fellow standards body the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), of the Forum on Security Standards for Web Services. The forum will be part of the XML Web Service One conference to be held Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 in Boston.

The forum will attempt to explain the alphabet soup of Web services security specifications from the standards groups, including the W3C's XML-SIG, XKMS and Xenc; and OASIS's SAML, WS-Security, and standards for access control, biometrics, digital rights and other areas.