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Re: [xml-dev] Web Service: SOAP or {HTML + Servlets}?

On Tue, Oct 09, 2001 at 05:17:22PM -0400, Roger L. Costello wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> I have been looking at SOAP recently.  Although its great fun to play
> with new technologies, I am struggling to see why I should recommend to
> my clients that they use SOAP rather than, say, HTML plus Java Servlets
> (or CGI, JSP, ASP, etc) to implement Web Services.  

Boy, I bet this one is going to generate some discussion! I had better
get in early! :-) :-) :-)

I won't go through a blow by blow discussion on your points. They all
make sense etc. Just a few things I think are worth pointing out.

SOAP describes encoding/decoding of packets. You don't have to use
SOAP with HTTP. It can be (and is being) used over other communication
mechanisms, such as email.

Going back to SOAP over HTTP however, why use it instead of servlets?
Well, this does not seem to be quite the right questions to me if
I understand it. Please note I am not a servlet expert! I thought
you could use servlets to implement SOAP. Servlets I thought were
more of an implementation technology, not a protocol.
SOAP talks about how to encode packets etc, not implementation.
Maybe you are refering more to the standard way people send
data to/from Java servlets rather than the technology itself?
Is there a standard way to encode such requests that is used
across a range of languages?

But to me the attraction of SOAP is a purely practical one. Forget
all the technology arguments. SOAP toolkits either exist or under
development for a wide range of languages/environments: COM, .NET,
Java, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Ace, TCL, C++, ...  The simple fact
that .NET uses SOAP means great interopability possibilities in
the near future.

Now I think SOAP has some real and serious warts: sparse arrays,
href attributes, and no standard session management over HTTP (although
I think cookies will be the norm here). But SOAP is still new.
And the potential for wide range interoperability across systems
is the real win.