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   RE: [xml-dev] SOAP and the Web

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I agree that immediacy of choice can make a difference.  The 
questions are about the immediate known information.  In terms 
of the article, is this a third degree path dependency?

According to the article referenced, the consumer bought a 
roughly equal technology with one major but important advantage: 
longer record time in the cassette.  Sony bet that form factor 
had the highest payoff but the home market wanted a medium that 
enabled them to record movies and football games.  Essentially, 
it was a content constraint not a superior or inferior technology 
or cost.  In fact, the Sony comment was that except for that 
form factor, VHS used roughly the same technology.  

Econ 101 was wrong.  The customer simply wanted what Betamax 
was not going to provide for a few more years.  Those years 
made all the difference.   Remediation has arrived in the 
form of a DVD.

As far as I can tell, all the major tool vendors also support 
the REST architecture.  What the pushback is is that for the 
programmer, it is harder to code REST.  Again, REST requires 
discipline and SOAP requires a toolkit.  Given that, SOAP 
will win because the payoffs start immediately and REST is 
sort of a deferred gratification based on predictable interfaces. 

OTOH, SOAP introduces the potential that what we code today, market 
tomorrow, and return to investors next week will disappear 
and leave the customer to whom we sold it exercising a 
liquidated damages clause.  What we code, we have to support.


From: Andrew Dubinsky [mailto:andy@encomia.com]

>Can you provide a list of the payoffs for using SOAP?

The payoff is support among all major tool vendors (Sun, Oracle, SAP,
IBM, & Microsoft) & the OSS community. My payoff is that our project can
code today, market tomorrow, sell next week, and quickly return money to
investors. Show me a method/protocol/product that will expedite that
sequence and increase my rate of return and I will use it and encourage
others to do the same.  

>Someone earlier brought up the VHS vs BETAMAX story 
>often used to illustrate how an inferior technology 
>can lead to market lock-in. 

That story has evolved from fact to myth. VHS was developed by an
industry consortium of electronics manufacturers, except Sony. Sony
tried to demand high license fees for Betamax technology. The other 7
electronics manufacturers formed a group, developed a standard that was
less expensive to produce, free of licensing costs, and supported it.
Consumers bought the least cost, highest gain product with the lowest
risk of obsolescence. Econ 101. 

The best technology was decided, by consumers alone, in the free market.
Beta lost due to high price. Price is, and always will be, a factor in
the success of technology, in spite of the objections of engineers and
the academe.

>I assume this fear of 
>lock-in by the major vendors is one reason some fear 
>SOAP, that SOAP and particularly, SOAP/RPC are the 
>inferior technology. 

There is no such thing as major vendor lock-in. If that fact were true,
why is Apache the leading web server? Use jboss (GPL) if you don't like
websphere (IBM). Use perl/tcl-tk/smalltalk/fortran/cobol/et al. and
write your own SOAP tools. Write a brand new tool and convince others to
use, like Larry Wall did. 

I'm not saying SOAP is perfect & without warts. It's not. It just
happens to be the best _available_ choice. By "best" I mean supported
right now in today's world with readily available affordable tools.


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