W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-ws-arch@w3.org > April 2003

Stranger in a Strange Land

From: Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) <RogerCutler@ChevronTexaco.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 18:53:39 -0500
Message-ID: <7FCB5A9F010AAE419A79A54B44F3718E01817DD9@bocnte2k3.boc.chevrontexaco.net>
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Once again I feel like I am torn between different universes.  It would
be a lot easier for me, and certainly more comfortable, if I spent my
all my time in a single environment where everyone comfortably accepts
the same assumptions and values.

OK, let's be more specific.  I have learned that a company which I think
is much larger than any represented in the W3C has forced another
company that I think is larger than any in the W3C to accept XML
payloads (lots of them) totally without envelopes.  "I don't need no
stinking SOAP".  Moreover, I find that many small to medium sized
companies are objecting to the expense of creating envelopes that they
feel do not benefit them, and also wish to send bare XML payloads.  A
very large company which has implemented an XXXX standard with envelopes
(which we have also implemented) has subsequently implemented an
XXXX-lite -- which is just the body without any envelope whatsoever.
Signing and so on, of course, are possible in this scenario.  Again, "We
don't need no stinkin SOAP".

I find also that a company that is trying to make a business out of
collecting and routing business transactions has found itself under
increasing pressure from the market and its clients not to use
envelopes.  They think that envelopes are very good things -- but they
are moving toward offering services that are envolope-free.

So I ask, "What is the benefit of the envelopes"?  I ask people in my
company who have implemented a business transaction project including
envelopes and they tell me that envelopes are very good and very forward
looking -- they should be very useful for creating supply chain
processes and keeping track of what transactions have occurred, not to
mention dealing with complex routing situations -- but in fact they have
not really done very much with the envelopes.  Well, exactly what HAVE
they done?  Well, they have made them and received them.  And I infer
that they have felt virtuous in the process.  Well, maybe they have
looked at some statistics based on the envelopes from the middleware a
few times, and they feel good that they have been able to purchase
middleware products based on the envelopes.  Perhaps this has saved
development effort.

I ask other people what the benefit is of envelopes, and I receive no
answer that indicates to me any benefit whatsoever to a small to medium
sized company that does not have elaborate and expensive middleware
systems.  Envelopes seem to make it easy for expensive middleware in big
companies to keep track of things (although as far as I can tell most of
the big companies are not really exploiting this for much) -- but for
the little guys they appear to be pretty much something that is being
forced on them by the big guys.

Except that the biggest of the big guys seems to be saying that they
don't need no stinkin envelopes.

I think there is something wrong here, folks.  It seems to me that we
may be seeing the beginnings of a market rebellion.  It would really,
really be helpful to me if someone could remind me why envolopes are so
great.  I sort of have forgotten, as has everyone else I have been
talking to around here.  Just about everybody seems to agree that they
are absolutely necessary -- but they all seem to have forgotten exactly

I don't have a good feeling about this, folks.
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2003 19:53:47 UTC

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