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   Re: [xml-dev] Categories of Web Service messages: data-oriented v

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2/8/2002 12:27:03 AM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:

>Okay, fine, you are tunneling. I've mentioned this possibility on
>several occasions! There's no law against it. It's pretty inefficient to
>abuse HTTP in that way but if it's easier to implement than using TCP
>sockets then go ahead. Just be clear that you aren't using HTTP as it
>was meant to be used and you should expect a performance penalty for
>adding a superfluous layer into your app.

I fear to jump in here ... but this seems to be the heart of the matter.  There seems to 
be a school of thought that says it's an abuse of some principle to use HTTP when TCP 
would suffice. I thought that the whole point of using HTTP like this was almost purely 
pragmatic -- there are a lot more systems out there that will accept GET and POST requests 
than there are systems that will let you open a TCP socket on an arbitrary port.  The 
option isn't between efficient TCP and inefficient HTTP, it's between good enough HTTP and 
totally unacceptable sneakernet.  In a hacker-free environment Paul Prescod would be 
absolutely right ... but what about in the world we live in?  I don't follow argument that 
HTTP is a superfluous layer in a world of firewalls that close out most everything except 
port 80.

Or to put it differently, HTTP is powerful enough to be useful but limited enough to make 
it hard for hackers to attack you with.  It is an inefficient use of cheap and abundant 
computer resources, but who cares, if it saves expensive and scarce human resources?

Anyway, that's the counter-argument as I understand it ... what am I missing?   


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