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Sun position on SOAP and ebXML

From: Anne Thomas Manes <atm@sun.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 15:50:54 -0500 (EST)
To: <xml-dist-app@w3.org>
Message-ID: <ACEKJDGIINCHDFHCIPOHGEFHCEAA.atm@sun.com>
I thought you might appreciate this information on Sun's position on SOAP
and ebXML. There was a question on the Apache SOAP distribution list
regarding Sun's position on SOAP. I posted this response. It has since been
posted to xml-dev, and someone recommended that I also send it to this list.

>William Brogden asked:
>
>I would really hate to get caught up in the SUN - MicroSoft
>power struggle by working with SOAP. Does anybody have any
>inside information about SUN's intentions?

For the record:

- SOAP is not a factor in any "Sun/Microsoft power struggle".

- Sun is not building an alternative to SOAP. Sun views SOAP as a useful,
lightweight XML protocol. Sun recommends using SOAP where a lightweight XML
protocol is appropriate.

- Sun is currently not building a SOAP implementation because we don't think
we need two different SOAP implementations for Java. Sun recommends using
the Apache SOAP implementation, which is a very true implementation of the
SOAP V1.1 specification.

- Sun and iPlanet are adding support for SOAP in a number of products. For
example iPlanet Integration Server (formally known as Forte Fusion) provides
a SOAP adapter.

- Sun is a member of the UDDI Working Group (see www.uddi.org), which is
defining specifications for a Web Services registry. The UDDI V1
specification defines SOAP APIs.

- Sun is actively participating in the W3C XML Protocol (XP) Working Group,
which is defining a standard, extensible, XML protocol. (see
http://www.w3.org/2000/xp/) The XP Working Group is using the SOAP 1.1
specification as a starting point. (Note that the final W3C XP
Recommendation may very well be different from SOAP 1.1).

- Sun is also engaged in other XML activities. In particular, Sun is a
leading contributor to the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) initiative (see
www.ebxml.org). ebXML is a joint initiative of UN/CEFACT (the United Nations
standards body that created EDI) and OASIS. ebXML was established to develop
an internationally-recognized standard technical framework for international
trade. ebXML is defining specifications that will enable XML to be utilized
in a consistent manner for the exchange of all electronic business data. A
primary objective of ebXML is to lower the barrier of entry to electronic
business in order to facilitate international trade, particularly with
respect to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and developing
nations. ebXML is being developed entirely in the public eye. The process is
open to anyone who wants to participate. Currently there are more than 2000
companies, organizations, institutions, standards bodies, and individuals
from all over the world participating in the effort. (see
http://www.ebxml.org/participants/participants.htm)

- ebXML does not compete with SOAP. ebXML is to SOAP as a car is to tires.
ebXML defines a set of specifications that addresses the entire scope of
business to business ecommerce (for example, how to establish a trade party
agreement, or how to process a multi-currency transaction). SOAP defines a
messaging protocol. ebXML focuses on a specific type of application
(international trade). SOAP is a generic protocol that can be used for a
wide variety of applications. ebXML is not likely to be used for
device-to-device communications, yet SOAP is being used as the transport
within UPnP.

- ebXML provides provisions for specified levels of quality of service
(QoS). You can certainly build a QoS-enabled international trade framework
on top of SOAP, but the point is, you really only want to build that
framework once, and then you want to get the international trade community
to adopt it. ebXML is being developed by the international trade community.
One project within ebXML is the Transport/Routing and Packaging (TRP)
project. The ebXML TRP team has looked at SOAP V1.1 and determined that the
specification does not support certain technical requirements. For example,
ebXML has determined that business messages might need to contain XML
fragments, complete XML documents, multiple documents, and/or non-XML data.
SOAP V1.1 only transports XML fragments (including CDATA). Given that SOAP
is not an internationally recognized official standard, and that it doesn't
effectively support the ebXML technical requirements, ebXML TRP elected not
to adopt SOAP, and it defined a different messaging protocol that used
multipart MIME headers. The ebXML TRP protocol is similar to HP's SOAP
Messages with Attachments specification (see
http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/general/soapattachspec.asp), which wasn't
available when ebXML TRP was developing its spec.

- Representatives from ebXML are participating in the W3C XP Working Group.
There is a strong desire among many of the W3C XP participants to ensure
convergence of W3C XP and ebXML TRP. In time this discussion will likely
become moot.

Regards,

Anne Thomas Manes
Director Market Innovation
Sun Microsystems
617-497-1748
Received on Thursday, 21 December 2000 16:24:05 GMT

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