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RE: Stranger in a Strange Land

From: Newcomer, Eric <Eric.Newcomer@iona.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 20:51:30 -0400
Message-ID: <DCF6EF589A22A14F93DFB949FD8C4AB20107432D@amereast-ems1.IONAGLOBAL.COM>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@ChevronTexaco.com>, <www-ws-arch@w3.org>
To me this is somewhat related to the need to standardize SOAP headers.  Meaning that without standardized headers, I am unsure of their value.
 
I don't think we are trying to define Web services = SOAP.

The advantage of the envelope is that everyone can build software to the same standard, and accept and emit messages in the same predefined format.  

Just sending XML is fine, lots of applications already do that, but it requires agreement on message formats, and some of these can be simplified by referencing a standard.

Eric

-----Original Message-----
From: Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) [mailto:RogerCutler@ChevronTexaco.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 7:54 PM
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Subject: Stranger in a Strange Land



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 why.

I don't have a good feeling about this, folks. 
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2003 20:51:55 GMT

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