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   RE: [xml-dev] Web Services - what is the alternative? (was TAG on HLink)

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Title: RE: [xml-dev] Web Services - what is the alternative? (was TAG on HLink)


Sorry to reignite the old Web Services debate again, but I wanted to
report my findings and challenge REST advocates.

I've been investigating using SMS from our application. I've created
two demos as proof of concept.

The first one accesses my mobile (cell) phone provider's web site using HTTP
and HTTPS to use a facility they offer where you can send an SMS from a web browser.
This involved grovelling through HTML to find the form tags to determine what
fields I needed to send and sniffing the data sent on the connection to see
what cookies were being used. All in all a very 'hacky' way of developing an
application, and the result is pretty fragile. Any errors that are returned are
embedded somewhere in the HTML. Any changes to the forms break the application.
Development time was several hours.

The second one uses the Oracle SMS Web Service. All I had to to was get the WSDL
file, and use a JDeveloper wizard to build a stub from it. Any errors are reported
via a Java Exception from the Web Service methods called. Development time was
15 minutes.

So the Web Service way was easier to implement and is probably more robust.

I'm ambivalent about Web Services. For a task such as the one I want to do it
is simple and doesn't flood the Net with messages. However I can see that the
ease with which they are created and used with very little thought, and very
little need to understand the underlying infrastucture, could lead to apps that
create huge volumes of traffic.

So here's the question. What is the alternative to Web Services? REST advocates
say REST is best, but there is no toolkit for creating or using REST based
services that I know of. Accessing current web sites that return HTML is
not acceptable or easy to do. Things like cookie management and login mechanisms
should be transparent to the caller of the service.

'Use REST' is no answer if there is no easy and standard way to do it. If
there was a 'complete' alternative based on REST principles then developers
might use it.

Or is the answer that no form of RPC is acceptable?

Rob Griffin
Software Engineer
Quest Software
2/293 Camberwell Road
Victoria 3124
Phone: 03 98118021
Fax: 03 9811 8099

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:simonstl@simonstl.com]
> Sent: Thursday, 26 September 2002 10:55 AM
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: [xml-dev] TAG on HLink
> The W3C TAG appears to have decided to inflict XLink on everyone, like
> it or not:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Sep/0183.html
> I think it's fair to suggest at this point that XHTML 2.0 now needs a
> coffin, and perhaps the W3C's relevance (especially given that the TAG
> decision was unanimous) needs one as well.
> Now if only they could be so decisive in putting Web Services in a
> coffin...
> -------------
> Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
> http://simonstl.com may be my URI
> http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
> urn:oid: is another possibility altogether
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