Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) is a standard that aims at making it easy to build portals in a modular fashion by leveraging on internal and third-party components that are called through web services.

The current scenario for external data integration in web sites is usually based on mechanics similar to RDF feeds, that usually work in a way more or less like the following:

  • A RDF feed is created by a provider
  • A consumer reads the RDF feed at a given time, parses XML and stores information locally in a suitable format, replacing outdated information if needed
  • Each time a page is needed showing information taken from the RDF feed, the local copy is queried and information is assembled and presented to the user
Though generally this is not the case, a scheme similar to the one just presented could be conceivably be used on line, where for each user interaction a feed is polled. This might mean up to the second and maybe even user-personalized information, but in any case the presentation logic is up to the consumer and there is no way to estabilish any kind of session.

WSRP aims at providing standard pluggable objects with a user session that the user can interact with. You could have a weather control provided by a third party that you could easily incorporate into your portal so that the user can interact with it in complex manners always going through your portal. This means tha full presentation layer is rendered by the provider and that your site will essentially behave like a proxy, i.e. every time the user interacts with the control, the consumer will re-direct user input to the provider that will return updated HTML to be displayed to the user.

The big advantage with WSRP is for portals: you can change modules shown on page at the click of a button. If two providers offer weather forecasts via WSRP, switching from one to the other is - or should be - just a matter of modifying a URL (matching the graphic layout might be less trivial, IMHO).

WSRP is built on top of existing XML based standards (SOAP, UDDI) and offers standard means of service discovery and binding via UDDI.

WSRP is standardized by a joint group showing most of the big names of today's web portal industry (see site for exact reference).

Official site: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=wsrp

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