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FW: Invitation to help define SWAP Protocol

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 00:49:11 -0700
Message-ID: <01BD6808.4EAB05E0.ejw@ics.uci.edu>
To: "'WEBDAV WG'" <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
Caught by the spam filter.

- Jim

-----Original Message-----
From:	Keith Swenson [SMTP:kswenson@netscape.com]
Sent:	Monday, April 13, 1998 11:56 PM
To:	w3c-dist-auth@w3.org; www-webdav-dasl@w3.org
Subject:	[Spam?] Invitation to help define SWAP Protocol

I'd like to explain today announcement about SWAP (Simple Workflow
Access Protocol) and apologize for any mis-conceptions people may have
about the proposal to make SWAP a standard.

Some History & Details:

A group of us came up with the basic idea in December of 97.  The
original group included representatives from Actra, CoCreate, IBM,
Netscape, Oracle and SUN.  Many of us have worked together at efforts
within the Workflow Management Coalition, but were not pleased with
length of time needed for results.  Some of us had also worked on the
jFlow proposal to the OMG, but were concerned with the ability to
support all of the assumed services.

Our goal was  a light, simple protocol that would allow interoperability
in a specific number of ways.  We wanted something that really works,
was easy to implement, rather than an all encompassing architecture.  We
decided that we would get the basic idea on paper, and then make an
announcement to attract others to participate. We did not have in mind a
specific standards group but did agree neither WfMC and OMG were not the
appropriate standards bodies for an HTTP based protocol.

In February we determined that IETF may be the appropriate standards
body to investigate for carrying this forward.  Please remember that our
backgrounds are from the workflow field, and we don't have a lot of
direct experience with the IETF.  We approached Harald Alvestrand and
Keith Moore and did present the idea to the webDAV group at the last
meeting. We received some very good advice as to how to go about setting
up a workgroup are grateful that two working group chairmen allowed me a
few minutes of time to talk about the subject in their meetings.

We found it necessary to go ahead with the press release because:

   * the majority of workflow vendors, the intended audience for the
     protocol, are not active IETF members, and would not know about the
     effort if it was only announced through the standard IETF
     mechanisms.  We need to make sure that these people are not
     excluded from the effort.
   * We have not determined the appropriate standards body for this
     work.  We  remain hopeful to do this work under the auspices of the
     IETF or an appropriate standards body, but we have received mixed
     response to the proposal for a working group.  The right thing to
     do is to define the subject a little further, make it
     understandable, and then see if it fits into IETF goals.  We
     attempted to hold a BOF on this subject at the IETF meeting but
     this was not possible at this meeting.  In any case, presuming that
     IETF is the only audience for this effort at this point would be

We are mindful that the IETF has been burnt in the past by press
releases, and is justifiably sensitive to this method of communication.
We felt the press release was necessary to raise awareness and interest
in the protocol effort.  We have taken the following steps to make sure
that things are done properly:

   * The protocol is not presented as completed definition, but as
     something that will be developed by the group that gets together to
     work on it.  We do have a "strawman" proposal, which is necessary
     to clarify the goal of the group, but we are ready to throw it away
     or modify it in response to input from members.
   * There will be no closed meetings.  Everyone is invited, from within
     the IETF and by other means.
   * The IETF is not mentioned in the press release; there is no
     representation at this time that this is or will be an IETF
     standard.  This is still to be determined and will be the result of
     the group's decision.

That being said, it is time to get to work. We would like to extend an
invitation to all interested IETF members to join the effort to develop
a protocol that will be immensely useful in helping workflow services to

We are planning an open meeting on the days of May 4 & 5 in Costa Mesa,
California.  This will probably be at the Doubletree Hotel there, but
the details will follow.  Please contact me (kswenson@netscape.com) if
you plan to attend, and I will make sure that you are mailed the
details.  The strawman proposal will be emailed to prospective attendees
at least a week before the
meeting.  Please come with an open mind and a willingness to work.

Please forward this message to whomever you feel is appropriate to
receive it.

-Keith Swenson
Received on Wednesday, 15 April 1998 03:55:55 UTC

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