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   Can you stand yet another SOAP-RPC vs HTTP GET question?

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  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: Can you stand yet another SOAP-RPC vs HTTP GET question?
  • From: Mike Champion <mc@xegesis.org>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 22:08:13 -0400

I asked the Google Web API people why they didn't just offer a simple HTTP GET of an XML 
result.   The (FAQ, I think) response was: "We chose to deliver Google Web APIs via SOAP 
because we believe that the SOAP developer tools make Google Web APIs accessible to a broad 
developer community."  OK, fair enough ... if we were talking about some complicated 
interface.  But we're talking about generating very simple URIs for 99% of what people do with 

For example, one question I ponder frequently "is the world run by knaves or fools" is simple 
to pose to the Google URI interface:
http://www.google.com/search?q=is+the+world+run+by+knaves+or+fools  All I want is the option 
to get the result in XML

Every language I use has a URL library and a string manipulation library, and it would be easy 
to take an arbitrary query string, generate such a URI, do a GET on it, and parse the XML 
response.  Wrap up this logic in a simple API! How much broader a developer community could 
they want?.  One could easily add some options such as quoting the whole phrase, or whatever.  

Granted, this only scratches the surface of what the Google API can do, but then again 99% of 
the user's won't do anything more sophisticated (IMHO, anyway).  A general URI interface would 
be at least as complex as the SOAP API, but that would be pointless -- SOAP RPC is good for 
representing arbitrary, complex argument lists, and few would object to having that as an 
option.  I just resent having the complex, general solution forced on me (assuming I want to 
access Google from a program) for simple everyday things.  

So, what am I missing here? I feel like I've gone senile or something.  [Back in mah day, 
Sonny, we had to concatenate strings by hand to build URIs, we didn't have no fancy GUI's to 
generate WSDL to input to a binder to generate SOAP messages like you young whippersnappers 
are usin']  Do most people in the "broad developer community REALLY want to jump through hoops 
to avoid having to think about URIs?  Or is this example (involving all strings rather than a 
mix of strings and integers and structures) just so much more trivial than the "typical" SOAP-
RPC problem that it's not worth thinking about?


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