An Approach to Engineer Communities of Web Services: Concepts, Architecture, Operation, and Deployment

An Approach to Engineer Communities of Web Services: Concepts, Architecture, Operation, and Deployment

Zakaria Maamar (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates), Sattanathan Subramanian (INRIA Saclay- Île-de-France, France), Philippe Thiran (University of Namur, Belgium), Djamal Benslimane (Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, France) and Jamal Bentahar (Concordia University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/jebr.2009040601

Abstract

This article presents an approach that provides the necessary assistance to those who are in charge of engineering communities of Web services. Current practices indicate that Web services providing the same functionality are gathered into one community, independently of their origins and the way they carry out this functionality. The provided assistance manifests itself with the concepts to use, the architecture to select, the operations to script, and the deployment to track. Two protocols frame the interactions in an environment of communities of Web services namely the Web Services Community Development Protocol and the Contract-Net Protocol. The former manages a community in terms of Web services attraction/registration/withdrawal to/with/from this community. The latter satisfies users’ needs in terms of Web services selection/contracting/triggering. Finally, the article presents a prototype illustrating the engineering approach with focus on Web services attraction.
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Introduction

For the World Wide Web Consortium, a Web service ``is a software application identified by a URI, whose interfaces and binding are capable of being defined, described, and discovered by XML artifacts and supports direct interactions with other software applications using XML-based messages via Internet-based applications’’. For the last few years, the development pace of Web services has been spectacular (Benslimane, 2007,DPD; Daniel, 2005; Dustdar, 2005). On the one hand, several standards have been developed to deal with for example Web services definition, discovery, and security (Andrews, 2003; Curbera, 2002). On the other hand, several projects have been initiated such as Web services composition, personalization, and contextualization (Baresi, 2007; Medjahed, 2007). These standards and projects have usually a common concern: Web services composition. Composition addresses the situation of a user’s request that cannot be satisfied by any single, available Web service, whereas a composite Web service obtained by combining available Web services may be used.

Nowadays, competition between businesses does not stop at goods, services, or software products, but includes as well systems that offer the most recent and accurate information. For example, Google and Yahoo are both search engines. The common practice is to bind to one of the engines according to various factors like reliability, efficiency, previous experiences, financial charges, etc. Web services are definitely not excluded from this competition. Independent providers develop several Web services that could offer the same functionality such as currency exchange. It is reported in (Bui, 2005) that although Web services are heterogeneous, the functionalities these Web services offer are sufficiently well defined and homogeneous enough to allow for market competition to happen. To ease and improve the process of Web services discovery in an open environment like the Internet, we suggested in (Benslimane, 2007; Maamar, 2007; Subramanian, 2007) along with other researchers in (Benatallah, 2003; Medjahed, 2007; Medjahed, 2005) to gather similar Web services1 into groups known as communities. The notion of group/community/cluster highlights the importance of developing guidelines that would permit the management of Web services to be now parts of communities. Although Web services are investigated in various research projects (Anderson, 2006; Foster, 2006; Mrissa, 2008; Younas, 2006) these guidelines still lack and hence, examining the following elements would be deemed appropriate: (1) how to initiate, set up, and specify a community, (2) how to specify and manage the Web services in a community, and (3) how to reconcile conflicts within a community and between communities?

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