Open Source SOA Software Shares Microsoft Stage

When was the last time you saw a fully open-source vendor sharing the conference keynote stage with Microsoft? If you were at Microsoft's recent Tech-Ed show in Orlando, you could say, well, then.

"Halfway through our presentation it hit me: We're at a major Microsoft keynote and we're a completely open source company," recalled Jonathan Marsh, architecture director at WSO2, an open-source SOA middleware maker. "We're standing here we are, side-by-side with the world's largest maker of proprietary software, showing how these two major industry forces can work together. I can't remember the last time I saw that. I gotta say, it was very rewarding."

The Mountain View, Calif.-based open-source company joined the Incredible Hulk of Redmond to demonstrate how the WSO2 platform can intercede among the three major development paradigms -- .NET, Java, and unmanaged code -- to provide seamless interoperability based on Web services.

WSO2 showed off the results of several "technical collaboration initiatives" designed to extend interoperability across the Microsoft .NET Framework, Java, and other Web services platforms.

"We all recognize now that we need to interoperate at the level of data formats and protocols, and not on programming models and data types that are specific to a particular programming environment," Marsh said in an recent interview with this site. "That's the core design of the Web services standards, and that's what we're exploiting here."

WSO2 was founded by member of the Apache Software Foundation Web services community, so it's no surprise that its SOA platform is based on Apache projects. The platform's foundation technologies consist of a Web services application server based on Apache Axis2, and an enterprise service bus (ESB) based on Apache Synapse. Both are built on the WSO2 Web Services Framework.

The Tech-Ed demo involved StockTrader 2.0, a composite application service based on the .NET Configuration Service 2.0 and distributed via Apache/WSO2 middleware components. Working with Microsoft's Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools group, Marsh showed how interoperable implementations of Web service protocols could allow what he calls a seamless mix-and-match of the application's components, including the user interface (a .NET smart client and PHP Web application), the business processing service layer (.NET and PHP) and an order processing service (.NET, Java and PHP).

WSO2 supports the full WS-Security stacks in both the WSO2 app server and its WSO2 Web Services Framework for PHP, which is based on Apache Axis2/C.

Although WSO2 collaborated with Microsoft for the conference demo application and presentation, the company didn't develop any custom protocol code to make these things work together, said Marsh. "We took the Windows Communication Foundation code out of the box that comes with Vista, Windows Server 2008, the .NET 3.5 Framework and used that with our shipping releases of code," he said. "We built an application showing these things talking to each other, and we worked with Microsoft to configure the security certificates and so forth, but didn't do any hand coding or tweaking to get a demo to work. It was out-of-the-box code."

WSO2's most popular product -- ESB -- wasn't part of the Tech Ed demo, but the company is announcing a major upgrade at the 13th Annual SOA World Conference & Expo East, underway this week in New York. Version 1.7, which is based on the Apache Synapse ESB 1.2 launched earlier this month, is designed to provide a lightweight platform that routes messages with millisecond overhead and scales to manage thousands of simultaneous connections-on standard server hardware, according to the company.

More information on WSO2's software can be found here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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