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RE: Intent

From: Ugo Corda <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 13:23:22 -0700
Message-ID: <C513FB68F8200244B570543EF3FC653708AE36A8@MAIL1.stc.com>
To: "'Mark Baker'" <distobj@acm.org>
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org

Thank you for the explanation and the pointer (Gosh, I didn't know that
SOAPAction was actually reborn).

I think I understand your explanation, but I am afraid that the formal
definition of the new media type parameter ("the purpose of the action
parameter is to indicate the intent of the SOAP message") remains as
imprecise as it was in its SOAPAction incarnation. So in practice it's
probably either going to be ignored (since it's now optional) or is going to
represent different things for different SOAP implementations (the same way
it was for SOAPAction).


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Baker [mailto:distobj@acm.org]
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 12:42 PM
To: Ugo Corda
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Subject: Intent

On Fri, Sep 20, 2002 at 12:05:40PM -0700, Ugo Corda wrote:
> Mark,
> Could you please elaborate on the role you would assign to SOAPAction (or
> something equivalent, since it's not in SOAP 1.2 any more)?

Well, ok, you asked for it. 8-)

FWIW, it can now be found here;


though it's optional, unlike SOAPAction, which is actually ok because
SOAPAction served two purposes; identify a SOAP message, and declare the
intent of the message.  Since "application/soap+xml" identifies a SOAP
1.2 message, it's ok that action not be there, just like SOAPAction
could be empty.  So it's actually semantically equivalent.

Allow me to use an analogy to explain ...

If I wrote up a purchase order on a piece of paper, and walked up to
a stranger on the street and handed it to them, they could either
say "ok, I'll take care of it", or "what the heck is this"?  This
is what POST does.  Of course, "I'll take care of it" can mean many
things; if the person shreds paper, then that will yield a different
result than if the person works at the purchasing department of Walmart.
That's why it always helps to know what type of person they are before
giving them stuff.

But a person can play multiple roles at once.  So this stranger I met
may actually be *both* a paper shredder and work in Walmart's purchasing
department.  That's why I need a way to declare which role I want to
interact with.  So if I hand him the paper, I can say "here, take
this as a paper shredder", or "here, take this as a purchasing agent of

> I was a member of the XML Protocol WG at the time the SOAPAction
> took place and, if I remember well, the main reason for its elimination
> its imprecise semantics (which translated in all kind of different uses of
> that parameter in various SOAP implementations - not too good for
> interoperability).

That's my recollection too, but it wasn't *re*moved, just moved. 8-)

 [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-dist-app/2002Mar/0329

Mark Baker, CTO, Idokorro Mobile (formerly Planetfred)
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.               distobj@acm.org
http://www.markbaker.ca        http://www.idokorro.com
Received on Friday, 20 September 2002 16:23:55 UTC

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