WS02 Launches Open-Source Web Services Project

WSO2, a company started by key leaders of the Apache Web Services Project, today announced the creation of a new project tasked with creating a Web service mediation framework. The project proposal has been submitted to the Apache Software Foundation incubator under the Web Services project.

Dubbed Synapse, the new initiative is an open-source implementation of a Web service mediation framework and components for use in developing and deploying SOA infrastructures.

Synapse provides a framework to intermediate between two or more Web services, and is designed to allow users to introduce transformation and routing, promote loose coupling between services, and support greater reliability and resiliency.

Open Evolution

WSO2 is joined by a long list of lWeb services and ESB companies, including Blue Titan, IONA, Infravio and Sonic Software. Infravio is donating its X-Broker code to Synapse.

“We are pleased to work with industry leaders on the mediation aspects of Web services,” said Paul Fremantle, vice president of technology at WSO2. “Synapse is another significant step towards our objective of creating the best possible Web Services platform in Apache.”

Dave Chappell, vice president and chief technology evangelist for Sonic Software, said Synapse is a major step forward for the evolution of Web services.

“Synapse provides the ideal open, community-based environment for establishing a common, interoperable mediation framework for Web Services, and it will be influential in driving adoption of SOA principles in the industry at large,” he said.

An Architectural Challenge

ZapThink founder and senior analyst Ron Schmelzer told LinuxInsider that Synapse is an interesting initiative that demonstrates the commoditization of software.

“It’s difficult to build a technology that companies can justify spending a lot of money on because there’s a lot of low-cost infrastructure that does a very good job,” Schmelzer said. “But there’s a difference between the technology needed to implement Web services and the architecture.”

Indeed, creating the architecture, in other words arranging and configuring software to do what you want it to do, is the industry challenge. With so much available software, analysts said we should be living in the golden age of IT. But the industry is missing the best practices that makes software work.

“I am so positive about Synapse because even though it’s software it does establish a common base,” Schmelzer said. “Even if you don’t have any money you can still implement the basic infrastructure you need for Web services and SOA.”

SOA Losers

So who are the short-term losers in this latest Web services twist? Analysts said companies that have made significant investments in proprietary expenses and integration middleware stand to lose the most. Still, Schmelzer doesn’t expect IBM or Microsoft to lose any sleep.

“IBM makes a lot of money on services and Microsoft has a different customer base,” he said. “People choose Microsoft’s products because the company makes it so easy to build applications. But WSO2 is competing against other open-source and commercial vendors in this space. The challenge for Synapse is being heard over all the noise in the marketplace.”

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