Document title:

Services Work Plan

Document number:


Document source:

(see authors below)

Document status:

Submission Draft

Date of this status:


Change history:


Initial Draft


Submitted to FAB for approval

David Levine Jonathan Dale


Problem Statement:


The Internet infrastructure is evolving towards providing services through an approach known as web services. A web service can be characterized as:


         Delivered across industry standard internet infrastructure, such as SOAP

         Loosely coupled

         Described using industry standard description mechanisms, such as WSDL

         Located using industry standard mechanisms such as UDDI


The underlying services such as message transport are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, open and explicitly defined. These services are increasingly being composed into more complex services, using these tools. Web services represent a special case of the general problem of characterizing and composing generalized services. .


FIPA has an opportunity to contribute to the industry in this area. While there are already other organizations doing so, such as DAML-S and WSDL, they do not take into account the needs of agents and interoperability at the service level. The FIPA specification of a service in [FIPA00023] is insufficient to support these efforts. The current definition is too expressive, too unstructured and does not have a notion of service composition, for example, which is crucial for expressing service relationships and defining service flows.


Additionally, FIPA needs to be able to integrate with these other technologies to represent the entire class of services (from simple to smart) and to allow interoperation across services in different domains. This includes creating composition models that can be shared between different environments, such as the semantically-oriented agent environment and the Web Services environment.


Furthermore, there is a need to provide integration paths so that these service environments can coherently interoperate and if this is not achieved, then cross service environment incompatibilities will arise, for example, it is unlikely that agents will be able to naturally invoke and respond to Web Services, and that Web Services will be able to naturally invoke and respond to agents.


Define terms such as services technology, FIPA services, etc.

Objectives: There are four main objectives of this work plan:

         Requirements for services, i.e. what do we want to be able to represent and how do we want to use them (abstract notion of service), including a service composition language. This should be done through a generalized approach to services, focused by the specific requirements of web services.

         Integrate existing service technologies, such as Web Services and DAML-S into a coherent service model (concrete notion of service).

         Produce a mapping between FIPA services and services in other service technologies (the relationship between DF/UDDI DS, representing FIPA services in Web Services, etc.)

         Produce input to other standardization activities (W3C, UDDI-F, etc) to close the conceptual gap between current Web Services and the abstract notion of a service. This includes building shared composition models.


Technology: Input for this work plan will come from existing service technologies specifications:

         FIPA Service Description from [FIPA00023]

         Service Description Service from [FIPA00094]

         Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

         Universal Data Description Interface (UDDI)

         Web Services Description Language (WSDL)

         Web Services Flow Language (WSFL)



Specifications generated:

         Abstract Service Specification

         Web Services Service Specification

         Web Services Conversational Description Specification


Plan for Work and Milestones: The plan is for an 18 month activity including the following steps:

         2002/04 Initial meeting and issue draft requirements document

         2002/07 Produce Abstract Service Specification

         2002/10 Release Preliminary versions of FIPA services specifications in particular service technology choices, such as Web Services, covering service descriptions, mapping between components, etc. Propose changes to other standards bodies

         2003/01 Revise drafts and propose for Experimental status


The project plan will be reviewed and revised, if and when necessary.



         [FIPA00001] FIPA Abstract Architecture Specification

         [FIPA00023] FIPA Agent Management Specification

         [FIPA00094] FIPA Abstract Architecture Specification (Refinements)



         Jonathan Dale (Fujitsu)

         Dominic Greenwood (Fujitsu)

         David Levine (IBM)

         Steven Willmott (EPFL)

         Geoff Arnold (Sun Microsystems)

         Mike Stockman (Intel)

         Ion Constantineuscu (EPFL)


FAB Comments: