SOA Building Blocks WS-Policy

WS-Policy is a specification that allows web services to use XML to advertise their policies (on security, Quality of Service, etc.) and for web service consumers to specify their policy requirements.

WS-Policy provides a flexible and extensible grammar for expressing the capabilities, requirements, and general characteristics of entities in an XML Web services-based system. WS-Policy defines a framework and a model for the expression of these properties as policies.

WS-Policy defines a policy to be a collection of policy alternatives, where each policy alternative is a collection of policy assertions. Some policy assertions specify traditional requirements and capabilities that will ultimately manifest on the wire (e.g., authentication scheme, transport protocol selection). Other policy assertions have no wire manifestation yet are critical to proper service selection and usage (e.g., privacy policy, QoS characteristics). WS-Policy provides a single policy grammar to allow both kinds of assertions to be reasoned about in a consistent manner.

WS-Policy does not specify how policies are discovered or attached to a Web service. Other specifications are free to define technology-specific mechanisms for associating policy with various entities and resources. WS-PolicyAttachment [WS-PolicyAttachment] defines such mechanisms, especially for associating policy with arbitrary XML elements, WSDL artifacts, and UDDI elements. Subsequent specifications will provide profiles on WS-Policy usage within other common Web service technologies.

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