Over the past several weeks, a former colleague and I have put together a grid of the current Web Service Standards starting with the core and extending to the WS* features. You can find this at:
or at its home:
The purpose of this is to highlight the many options / directions the standards have gone as well as the large amount of vendor participation in these specifications. Obviously having vendors write standards is a double edged sword as they most often will have an offering following the standard release and will be pushing it on you and I. With the open source movement however, you will find a bunch of these standards available in Apache projects, Codehaus etc and the time/effort spent by other technologists can save time for us all.
One example of this was a project I worked on recently for a State Government contractor. There was a need to support basic authentication and integrate this with LDAP. Within a half an hour discussion, the decision was made to use WS-Security UsernameToken. The implementation took advantage of the WSSJ package from Apache and in a few hours this feature was ready to test. The alternative might have been a custom SOAP Header and the resulting WSDL / Interceptor work to build out the infrastructure. Not worth it when deadlines are tight!
So take a look at the BigSOAGrid and get up to speed on the latest and greatest. Maybe you will find a standards based option for your project needs!