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Re: "Uh, what do I need this for" (was RE: XML.COM: How I Learned t oLove daBomb)

On 19 Aug 2001 13:05:34 -0400, Champion, Mike wrote:
> I don't think there's anything in Edd's article that disputes this.  He's
> talking about the gap between hype and reality, not the practical reality of
> SOAP and RPC.  I bet we can all agree that SOAP/XML-RPC are "good things"
> that are maturing steadily.

I doubt that, actually.

I'm quite happy with XML-RPC, but in large part I'm happy that it's
basically completed its maturation.  It does what it does very well, in
a relatively simple way, if not an especially efficient
(bandwidth/processing) way.  So far, "worse is better"[1], and all is
well - heck, excellent.

SOAP on the other hand seems to be maturing toward greater potential for
disaster.  It promises to do far more difficult things than XML-RPC,
while using the same infrastructure.  Its "envelope" approach adds extra
layers to messaging which both open enormous possibilities and weigh
down those possibilities with extra overhead.  

The continuing march of acronyms in the SOAP world suggests that we
aren't nearly finished yet, and interoperability looks likely to remain
a substantial issue for a long time going forward.  I don't find it
possible at this time to recommend SOAP or its accompanying technologies
except to people who already are locked into them, typically because
they need to communicate with someone else who has already adopted SOAP.

(Because some people genuinely need to use SOAP thanks to such network
effects, I do my best to keep up on SOAP and encourage others to do so
as well, while acknowledging the defensive nature of such work.)

At some point, "worse is better" can't quite hold the line (largely
thanks to excessive requirements, I think), and it's time to reconsider
designs which were suitable under lighter loads.  I'm not convinced that
the trouble in SOAP justifies its benefits, and I strongly recommend
that people with the freedom to do so explore other XML messaging
alternatives.  BEEP[2] is an interesting possibility.

[1] - http://www.naggum.no/worse-is-better.html (Richard Gabriel, 1991.)
[2] - http://www.beepcore.org/