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Re: FW: draft findings on Unsafe Methods (whenToUseGet-7)

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 08:19:32 -0400
To: Anne Thomas Manes <anne@manes.net>
Cc: www-talk@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020424081931.E20289@www.markbaker.ca>
I've taken the liberty of moving this to www-talk.

On Wed, Apr 24, 2002 at 12:28:43AM -0400, Anne Thomas Manes wrote:
> If you look back at all of my postings, I've consistently recommended that
> we explore new and better ways to do web services, but not at the expense of
> the current set of technologies. My customer base (12,000+ registered users)
> loves SOAP -- very possibly because the RPC/Messaging semantics are familiar
> and comfortable.

I'm sure they do.  I believe I said this.  And I would love it if it
was the case that RPC and messaging system were suitable for the
Internet.  Unfortunately, they are not, for many fundamental, practical
reasons regarding coordination and trust.

> If the "Web architecture" is such a *very* difficult thing
> to understand, perhaps that's why most users don't feel particularly
> concerned that SOAP doesn't conform. Things that are *very* difficult to
> understand generally don't achieve wide adoption. On the other hand, SOAP
> has been experiencing extraordinary success (even though Mark refuses to
> acknowledge it).

I acknowledge that SOAP has been experiencing extraordinary success in
the media, and in the hearts and minds of developers.

But that does not define success in my books.  I define success, in the
context of the W3C, to be a technology that can be deployed over the
Internet so that millions (or more) can take advantage of it.  SOAP is
not there yet, and I argue that it will never be there because it is
commonly used in a manner that is incompatible with the qualities
necessary to achieve Internet scale deployment.

Also, as you know, I've worked since day one in the XML Protocol WG to
ensure that SOAP *does* have a use that is compatible with Web
architecture.  So I sort of disagree with Roy when he says that SOAP
itself is bad.  But on the other hand, if nobody uses it in this way,
then at what point do you say that the technology itself is flawed?
I don't know, but I have no intention of voting against SOAP 1.2 because
of the considerable resources that my company expended in making sure
that it could be used in this way.

> Even so, SOAP 1.1 is flawed (incomplete, imprecise, etc. --
> not "bad technology"), and it needs revision. We need SOAP 1.2.
> The reason I spoke up at this time is that it appeared apparent to me that
> this Unsafe Methods finding would provide a convenient excuse to allow the
> TAG to challenge the release of SOAP 1.2 as not "web-friendly".

I will not let that happen.  It is the common use of SOAP that is not
Web-friendly, not SOAP itself.

What I do hope happens is that the TAG has some things to say about the
work products of the Web Services Architecture WG, and the Web Services
Description WG.  IMO, those stand the best chance of producing something
that is not Web architecture friendly.

> Not that it matters, but I've never been overly found of the name "Web
> services", because Web services (based on the existing Web services
> architecture) aren't constrained by Web technologies.  A more accurate name
> would be "network services" or "XML application services".

I completely agree.

> A Web service can
> just as effectively communicate over MQSeries, Jabber, or WAP. Although an
> HTTP binding is required, SOAP uses HTTP strictly as a transport (not as an
> application protocol), and SOAP is inherently transport-independent. (Hence
> our dispute.)There are only two Web-oriented requirements in the current Web
> services architecture: a Web service is identified by a URI, and it uses XML
> messaging. But Microsoft named them "Web services", IBM endorsed the name,
> and that was that. The name stuck, for better or worse.

The issue is, if it doesn't have anything to do with the Web, why is
are we working on it at the W3C?  The OMG would be a better place, IMO.

> And I have a question for the TAG:
> If so many members of the TAG viewed SOAP 1.1 as such "bad technology", why
> did it launch a Working Group with such a restrictive charter that mandated
> that XML Protocol be based on SOAP 1.1? Based on this new Web Architecture
> now being defined, I would say that the XML Protocol charter is
> self-contradictory.

Not sure I understand.  The TAG was chartered long after the XMLP WG.

> I encourage Mark, et al, to develop technologies and products that implement
> Web services in a Web-friendly way, and market them to the public. I advise
> you to figure out a way to explain the Web architecture so that the average
> Joe can grok it and appreciate why it is so much better than SOAP. Then,
> perhaps, this new approach to Web services will gain comparable public
> adoption as SOAP has to date.

I've been doing just this, for example;


> But first let's release SOAP 1.2. Either that, or let's be upfront and let
> the members know that W3C is not the right venue to advance this technology.
> I'm sure we can take our work someplace else.

That would address all of my issues.  Thanks.

Mark Baker, Chief Science Officer, Planetfred, Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.      mbaker@planetfred.com
http://www.markbaker.ca   http://www.planetfred.com
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 08:12:54 UTC

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