http://www.w3.org/ -- 21 March 2006 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) reinforces its commitment to building the foundations of Web Services by renewing its Web Services Activity. W3C continues work on SOAP, Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and Addressing specifications and features a new group chartered to enhance Web services descriptions with semantics. Augmenting Web services with Semantic Web technology makes it easier to automate the composition and discovery of Web Services.
WSDL is used to describe the interface of a Web service, its inputs and outputs. WSDL alone does not provide enough information to determine automatically whether the interfaces of two arbitrary Web services are compatible. Semantic descriptions make it easier to identify automatically services that have compatible inputs and outputs. Thus, given a description of a service for finding books and a description of a service for purchasing them, both equipped with semantics, it becomes much easier to combine the two into a more useful composite. For the same reasons, machine-readable semantic descriptions facilitate the discovery of pertinent Web services.
WSDL 2.0 includes the hooks to allow the specification of semantic descriptions. W3C has chartered the Semantic Annotations for Web Services Description Language (SAWSDL) Working Group to develop an annotation mechanism that takes advantage of those hooks.
"There are multiple communities around Semantic Web Services," explains Jacek Kopecky, chair of the Semantic Annotations for WSDL Working Group and representative from DERI Innsbruck. "W3C is bringing them together under its consensus-driven process to ensure that the rich and varied expertise can be distilled and put to work in a standard solution for Web automation."
The Semantic Annotations for WSDL Working Group will also provide a mapping of the new properties into a Resource Description Framework (RDF) form compatible with the existing RDF mapping for WSDL.
More than 400 researchers and developers participate in the continuing Semantic Web Services Interest Group (SWS IG), a public forum created in 2003 to discuss Web Services topics oriented towards integration of the Semantic Web and Web Services. Their feedback and observations from both research and business initiatives are expected to help the new Working Group ground its work in real world experience.
In 2005, W3C held the Semantic Web Services workshop to gather information about potential standardization work on Semantics in Web Services.
The launch of the SAWSDL Working Group is supported by EC's IST programme WS2 project.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan, and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/