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SAP joins group to push for SOA standards

To broaden interoperability with its NetWeaver platform, SAP is working with IBM, Oracle Corp. and others to develop a new programming model for a service-oriented architecture.

Seeing standards and broad partnerships as a way to improve integration with its NetWeaver platform, SAP joined...

with its archrival Oracle Corp. to form an industry group that is unveiling a new programming model for a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

We see this as an important opportunity to foster interoperability with the ability to compete on our enterprise assets.
Michael Bechauf,
 vice president of SAP NetWeaver industry standardsSAP

The group also consists of BEA Systems Inc., IBM, Iona Technologies Inc., Sybase Inc. and Xcalia S.A. The new specifications include the Service Component Architecture (SCA) to simplify the development of creating business services and Service Data Objects (SDO) for accessing data residing in multiple locations and formats.

The specifications reduce complexity for developers building applications by providing a way to unify services regardless of programming language and deployment platform, said Michael Bechauf, vice president of SAP NetWeaver industry standards at SAP.

"If you look at today's APIs [application programming interfaces], they're still based on relatively primitive requests for response call patterns," Bechauf said. "Standards need to be supported across heterogeneous architectures."

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While Oracle and SAP have been waging a war over the last year over market leadership, the two vendors agree on the need for standards that allow developers to build software that integrates across different vendor platforms. Standards also enable companies to create in-house applications and allow business analysts to develop applications with standardized tools, Bechauf said.

"We see this as an important opportunity to foster interoperability with the ability to compete on our enterprise assets," Bechauf said. "The goal is to close the gaps between business requirements and an SOA implementation."

Oracle has touted an SOA associated with its middleware stack. Creating open standards around Web services and the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition is key to the success of Oracle's Fusion plans, according to Steven G. Harris, vice president, Java Platform Group, at Oracle.

"We've been interested in a standards-based solution so companies can compete based on SOA implementations," Harris said. "It's been Oracle's theme for a while and why we feel comfortable standing with companies, including SAP, to develop and deliver these standards."

The royalty-free SOA Programming Model includes a Java language specification for implementing SCA service components; a C++ language specification for implementing SCA service components; a Java SDO specification describing a common rendering methodology for data exchange between clients and services; and a C++ SDO specification describing a common rendering methodology for data exchange between clients and services.

The code will be made available for experimentation. The group said it expects to send its SDO recommendations to a standards body within six months. The group plans to collect more feedback on its SCA standards before it is ready to submit them to a standards body.

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