IBM & BEA released a new specification for Service Data Objects. In my opinion, this is a much needed and perhaps overdue specification. SDO introduces Data Objects and Data Graphs which are self-describing data containers that can be manipulated, serialized and navigated. The feature that really got my attention was the ability to create a 'change log' of the data set. In essence, this feature mimics the functionality found in .Net called, "disconnected datasets'.
It is also apparent that the specification writers have gone out of their way to plan for a service oriented world. The use of XML Schema and a SOAP binding are utilized. I'm getting the feeling that this will be an underlying work-horse for some follow-on specifications.