mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Thursday, 6 April 2006

What good is SOAP to HTTP?

Filed under: Web Web Services

I’m a little confused by Mark Baker’s stance regarding SOAP; he seems to encourage the Web services world to use SOAP on top of HTTP in a fashion compatible with HTTP.

As I asked Chris Ferris recently, what’s the point?

UPDATE: Mark responds. While I agree that evangelising HTTP is good, and that teaching certainly brings benefits to the teacher as well, I’m concerned that people will only see HTTP through the imperfect, low-resolution lens of SOAP, not realising that they don’t need it. MSFT, IBM and everybody else are going to tremendous efforts to make SOAP usable for average developers, and ignoring their HTTP implementations; even if they “get it,” they’ll still build this stuff on top of SOAP.

As a result, we’ll end up with SOAP as some sort of vestigial organ. I personally have very little hope that the big vendors will a) get it, as well as b) follow through and actually make the world better (rather than just more profitable for themselves). Best to start fresh; a pig with lipstick and all that.

P.S. Mark, we wouldn’t have to talk like this if you allowed comments on your blog! ;)


Bill de hOra said:

Atom supports any SOAP use case I care to think of. Scary stuff.

Thursday, April 6 2006 at 1:52 AM

Mark Baker said:

Geez, you’re sounding like me a few years ago! 8-)

I think there’s more than one vendor who realizes the predicament they’re in, and are now looking to save face. RESTful SOAP gives them that, albeit at the cost of needing to orphan most of the stack they’ve spent the past few years filling out. I do agree there’s lots of work to be done with the APIs though, because as you say, they’re ignoring existing HTTP implementations (and interfaces too, perhaps more importantly).

And I don’t think RESTful SOAP using both GET and POST loses much fidelty compared to vanilla HTTP.

But whatever. Whether they succeed in saving face or not, either way the Web wins.

Thursday, April 6 2006 at 7:54 AM

Hugh Winkler said:

Comment at Gist: “I can’t think of one reason to wrap the messages I traffic in, in a SOAP envelope. What are the use cases for RESTful SOAP, please?”

Thursday, April 6 2006 at 10:07 AM

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