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   RE: [xml-dev] What Does SOAP/WS Do that A REST System Can't?

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  • To: "'Bullard, Claude L \(Len\)'" <len.bullard@intergraph.com>, <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] What Does SOAP/WS Do that A REST System Can't?
  • From: "Marc de Graauw" <marc@marcdegraauw.com>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 13:39:34 +0200
  • In-reply-to: <15725CF6AFE2F34DB8A5B4770B7334EE07206D57@hq1.pcmail.ingr.com>
  • Thread-index: AcU1R04m6007jtoDRe+6OmAfRkHHkQEh6ySw

I've got an actual project I wasn't able to do with REST in a satisfactory
way (although I would have liked to).

I have been writing a SOAP/WSDL specification for HL7v3 messages for the
Dutch Health Authority.

Those HL7v3 messages are in XML, and derived from older (v2) non-XML
formats, so the messages themselves have a quite venerable age. As an
example, an important class of messages is query/response. An example I've
been working on is a query with (among others) a patient id, which gets a
response with all medication that has been prescribed to this patient. In
HL7v3 the queries themselves have a lot of elements. With SOAP this is not
much of a problem: both the query and response are XML messages. With REST I
have the following options:
- Use GET, and translate the query to a URI. Now I have two different
formats for query and response, and an awful long and hard-to-read URI.
- Use POST to send the XML query and fetch the XML response. This is not
very RESTful, since the patient's medication history in the response is
naturally a resource, and GET is the RESTful way to retrieve a resource. (If
I follow this solution, I would end up using POST for all or almost all
HL7v3 interactions. If I add an envelope and headers, I've almost got SOAP
over HTTP.)
- Use PUT or POST to send the query to the receiver, and have the receiver's
server PUT or POST the response to the sender's server. Same objections as
above apply.
- Rewrite HL7v3 to use simpler queries which map more naturally to REST.
Now, of course this is not something I could do on my own, and anyway, I
believe a technology should enable me to use existing vocabularies, not
force me to rewrite them to enable the technology. (If there had been no
HL7v2 or v3, I believe using REST would have been an option, and a different
design would have made using REST in a RESTful way possible.)

IMHO REST just does not map easily to request/response patterns where the
request itself is complex.



| -----Original Message-----
| From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:len.bullard@intergraph.com] 
| Sent: woensdag 30 maart 2005 18:36
| To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
| Subject: [xml-dev] What Does SOAP/WS Do that A REST System Can't?
| After all the threads on this, I can't remember ever seeing 
| this question answered.  Can someone point me to a list of 
| the capabilities that one gets using
| SOAP/WS* that one won't get using REST?
| len
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