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   RE: The Protocol [was: Syntax] is API Fallacy

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  • From: "Ingargiola, Tito" <ti64877@imcnam.sbi.com>
  • To: "XML Developers' List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 17:39:33 -0400


[JonathonBorden states:]

>     This isn't the problem with RPC systems at all (including CORBA, Java
> RMI, DCOM, DCE-RPC etc), and certainly the current defacto web 'protocol'
> namely a form and www-form-encoding or a CGI query string is hardly a
> robust
> way for programs to communicate. Rather, the ubiquity of firewalls allows
> HTTP and SMTP traffic to flow where no RPC can go.
This seems a hard argument to make given that popular corba implementations
which support firewalls via tunneling techniques have been around for a
number of years, yet have not had much impact on corba's (lack of)
popularity.  The reason that http & friends have had the impact corba had
hoped for has to do primarily with the fact that they're simple
("web-weasels" don't typically write CORBA servers); other reasons include
ubiquity, performance and tools (emacs, vi, or notepad all work pretty well
along with one of the many free, stable httpds available to anyone).  

[JonathonBorden states:]
>     That's exactly my point, there is no reason not to layer IDL on top of
> perfectly good protocols such as HTTP and SMTP. There is no reason not to
> use perfectly good standards such as MIME. 
Certainly this can be done, but one has to wonder why one wants to do it.
I've played extensively with manipulating DOM structures remotely via CORBA
(see http://www.objdev.org/index.html for some details) and the bottom line
is that the granularity of the DOM is inappropriate for significant use in a
distributed system.  You're better off in nearly all cases simply firing a
stream of XML at whoever needs it.  

I think that one could happily integrate all sorts of wonderful XML-derived
benefits into a CORBA environment by having both stream and remote
invocation interfaces (I'm working on such a system now).  However,
"layering" CORBA on top  of XML will prove to yield little of value except a
reminder of how precious performance really is ;->



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