Arjuna Technologies Limited, Fujitsu Software, IONA Technologies PLC, Oracle Corp and Sun Microsystems today announced the publication of the Web Services Composite Applications Framework (WS-CAF).

The Web Services Composite Application Framework is a collection of three specifications – Web Service Context (WS-CTX), Web Service Coordination Framework (WS-CF), and Web Service Transaction Management (WS-TXM) – designed to solve problems that arise when multiple Web services are used in combination (composite applications) to support information sharing and transaction processing.

WS-CAF and Transaction Processing

Transaction processing (TP) is the core of commerce. Some transactions are very simple, such as purchasing a book or transferring funds, and can be processed immediately. Other transactions are more complex, such as fulfilling a purchase order or completing an insurance claim, and may take days or even years to process. All businesses rely on the concept of a transaction, but have built upon the concept through various architectures, which limits interoperability and creates multiple 'islands' of mutually incompatible TP networks.

WS-CAF solves the TP information management and sharing problem by defining an open, multi-level framework for standard coordination of long-running business processes across multiple, incompatible transaction processing models and architectures.

The authors plan to donate WS-CAF to a recognized industry standards organization soon under royalty-free licensing terms. This effort will lead the industry to converge on effective solutions through an open standards organization with proven development processes. Solutions developed this way are more likely to be reliable, interoperable and immediately useful to a large audience.

The Web Services Composite Application Framework (WS-CAF) is comprised of

  • Web Service Context (WS-CTX), a lightweight framework for simple context management that helps enable all Web services participating in an activity share a common context and exchange information about a common outcome.
  • Web Service Coordination Framework (WS-CF), a sharable mechanism that manages context augmentation and life cycle and provides the notification of outcome messages to Web services participating in a particular transaction.
  • Web Services Transaction Management (WS-TXM), is comprised of three distinct, interoperable transaction protocols that can be used across multiple transaction managers. WS-TXM supports multiple transaction models to help enable participants to negotiate outcomes with each other and make a common decision about how to behave, especially in the case of failure, regardless whether the execution environment is CORBA, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), .NET, Java Message Service (JMS) or some combination.

WS-CAF does not require the implementation of a new transaction protocol. The WS-CAF framework can use any transaction protocol in place of, or in addition to, the neutral protocols defined for WS-TXM, such as the OASIS Business Transactions Protocol. WS-CAF supports implementations of part or the entire framework, allowing users to leverage existing infrastructure commitments and investments. WS-CAF is compatible with other related specifications.

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