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OASIS approves a Web services standard that could ease 'mash-ups'

...Up until recently, the approach engineers have taken to the question of how data transferred over Web services should be presented, is to embed presentation markup in the data. That's what HTML is for after all, isn't it? The typical approach to data used in Web services is that data is typed to match the application that best handles it, like assigning MIME types to data shared through Internet packets. If it's an image, then the software registered for handling images should take care of it; if it's a Web page, then the Web browser should be capable of parsing the markup and laying out the page properly.

But that approach falls short of perfect in today's model of the "portal," which is becoming less dependent on embedding code within HTML, and more apt to experiment with managed code components like Flash, Silverlight, .NET, and that Java thing you read so much about. In a Web usage model that sheds its reliance upon the browser to delegate authority to other installed applications, how should presentation data be handled; how should a portal show you a spreadsheet, for instance, that behaves the way its authors intended?

The OASIS standards agency has been tackling that very problem for the past few years, and this morning announced it's ready to adopt a new approach to Web services that's been heavily championed by IBM: It's called Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP), whose version 2.0 is now being adopted as an OASIS standard...

As Booz Allen Hamilton consultant Bryan Castle wrote in 2005 for WSRP 1.0, "With WSRP in the mix, you could much more easily integrate a stock quote portlet into your portal. You could browse the UDDI directory for portlets themselves or alternatively provide end-users with the ability to browse a registry of portlets. Once the Stock Quote Portlet has been discovered, the process of adding it to the portal takes just a few clicks of the mouse and you are done. You don't need to perform any custom coding or deployment activities since the portlet is being consumed through WSRP. The end-user doesn't need to understand anything about WSRP or even that their portlet is actually being hosted by a remote producer! The end-user only knows that they have a directory of available portlets from which they can pick and choose. What could be easier?"

The first demos of the fully standardized WSRP 2.0 in action will likely involve "mash-ups" representing user-configured widget pages -- Web-based desktops, if you will -- showing Web services consumed in manners both determined by the producer and by the portlet. Oracle and Vignette were also among the major sponsors behind WSRP 2.0's adoption.

Read the complete article by Scott M. Fulton, III in BetaNews. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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