Web Services have now jumped species into the occasionally-connected world of computing and peripheral devices not typically reachable through Web services, such as PDAs, computer peripherals, computing appliances, and consumer electronics.
Microsoft Corp. and a group of fellow-travelers [have] released a new Web services specification late Tuesday, which helps provide Web services interoperability and support for occasionally-connected devices and systems, sources said.
The new specification is called WS-Discovery and is supported by Microsoft, Canon Inc., BEA Systems Inc., and Intel Corp.
The WS-Discovery specification acts somewhat like the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) standard, except it will focus on dealing with devices and systems that are not always connected to the network.
WS-Discovery is complementary to UDDI and will work with other protocols, such as WS-Eventing, WS-Addressing, WS-Security, and WS-ReliableMessaging - once a device or occasionally connected services announces itself - for ongoing system-to-system communication.
There are numerous areas of the industry crying out for exactly this functionality. For example, I worked with a lot of mobile telephone operators in the UK and Europe while at Cape Clear, and I can tell you that almost all of these companies are already rearchitecting their networks around XML and Web Services, and have bemoaned for quite a while the lack of any standards in this area.
There will no doubt be many other uses of WS-Discovery that emerge over time beyond the devices world, but certainly all the focus right now is on devices for obvious reasons.
Of course, birth is only the first stage of life, even for Web Service specificaitons, and the next stage in this little infant's life will involve a Feedback Workshop. That is your chance to give the spec authors feedback and shape the spec. Look out on MSDN for details of a WS-Discovery workshop which will be coming soon.
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