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   Re: [xml-dev] Can you stand yet another SOAP-RPC vs HTTP GET question?

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Hi Robin

Robin said:
[message about SOAP vs XML documents called with HTTP-GET]

Didier replies:
I noticed two markets:
a) Procedural language developers
b) functional language developers

The former market is owned principally by Microsoft since they are the main
provider of tools for their own platform, Windows. The latter is composed of
several players and is a more competitive market. The former is well
established and represents the status quo. The latter is a new emergent
market. The latter is a market of several million developers, the latter a
market of only a few thousand.

Procedural developers writing code mostly in languages like Visual Basic see
a world composed of components and procedures. Procedures being used to glue
the components together. For them, seeing Google as a component is a natural
extension of their actual view of the world. They simply have to drag and
drop a component on their form and voila, they are now ready to glue it with
other components. The majority of developers involved in client-server
applications [1] got used to this view of the world by tools like
powerbuilder and visual basic. Moreover, most schools are mainly teaching
procedural languages and procedural language concepts. Microsoft has
certification programs enforcing this practice. Therefore, these people are
trained to think in a certain way since their training years. This training
is enforced by the monopoly owning 95% of the desktop market share. Enforced
by tools provided by the same monopoly. From the stanpoint of these tools,
the main ingredients are components, SOAP just happen to be the marshalling
protocol between components. SOAP just replaced the older marshalling
protocol inherited from DCE. SOAP is hidden by these tools, what's apparent
are the components, their properties and methods not SOAP nor XML. Bottom
line: nothing is changed for these people, they still use components and
procedural code. They do not have to learn the XML framework nor do they
have to learn new concepts.

Functional programming is not well known by developers. It is not taught
very often in schools, and if it is, it does not benefit from the same
attention and training intensity as the procedural concepts are receiving. A
simple inquery to do: go to your local college and ask if they have a course
part of the actual conputer science curriculum about markup languages. Ask
them if they teach the concept of domain languages or functional programing.
Result: the developers are not well versed in functional programming. Also,
tools are not as sophisticated as in the component world. Off course they
are, they do not receive the same funding and the industry providing these
kind of tools is still in its infancy. For most of the developers involved
in developing client-server applications, the simple concept of constructing
a request (ex: an HTTP POST) containing an XML document to perform a request
to a relational database and this latter to return a document already
prepared for rendition is a real paradigm shift and a path encumbered by
conceptual obstacles [2].

So, Google simply gave an answer based on sound marketing principles. The
main market is using procedural tools. This has noting to do with XML and we
would be lured to think the contrary. It has to do with procedures and
components. XML is hidden by these tools and reduced to a simple marshaling
protocol. The developers have not to learn XML they simply have to shop for
components. They just have to know the components URLs and then use them in
their procedures (or functions, or objects). Google probably estimated that
the market share of the functional programming cohort is not sufficient to
justify any development or promotion. I do not say that they are right or
wrong, simply stating the logic behind and an observation of the actual
market dynamics.

If however, as a group we can make enough noise or good demonstration of the
power of the functional programming approach, then these people will respond
to market pressure. I guess that when we thing about marketing Keynes is
right: the demand precedes the supply. Or said differently, the demand
creates the supply. If we find a way to create the demand by our actions,
there will be some supply.

Didier PH Martin

[1] the client filing and validating forms - the server being a relational
[2] I mean here using a XML based query language as offered by Microsoft ot
Oracle and using an XSLT transformation to transform the data into a
rendering language like for instance HTML or SVG.


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