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Currently available tools for the development of the next generation distributed control and automation systems, adopt traditional architectural styles and do not cover the whole requirements of the development process. One of the major drawbacks of traditional engineering support systems (ESSs), which is extensibility, can be addressed by providing a public domain framework that can be easily extended. In this paper, a service-oriented architectural framework is adopted to provide the infrastructure for the exploitation of service-oriented computing in the development process of factory automation systems. Features required in the development process are implemented as Web-services and published in the public domain, so as to be used on demand by control engineers to construct their projects' specific ESSs. The infrastructure required to build a Web-service based ESS is presented. Specific Web-services are presented and the way that these services affect the development process is discussed. The need of a common field device model in the context of this approach is discussed and an ontology-based framework for such a device model is defined.