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Re: Protocol Bindings

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 11:49:58 -0700
To: Henrik Frystyk Nielsen <henrikn@microsoft.com>
Cc: "Williams, Stuart" <skw@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, xml-dist-app@w3.org
Message-ID: <20010706114954.C3802@mnot.net>

> >So is SOAP really a protocol or is it yet another 
> >packaging/encapsulation format?
> ...as opposed to yet another protocol ;? Protocols are used for all kind
> of purposes and exhibit all kind of properties and diving into what
> constitutes a protocol and how they can be classified is nothing less
> than a PhD subject.
> The discussion that we have had about the SOAP processing model will
> tell you that there is more than merely a wrapper - there is in fact a
> processing model that defines how to deal properly with SOAP messages
> and when to generate faults.
> It is true that SOAP by itself doesn't define many of the application
> layer characteristics that most other application protocols exhibit such
> as message exchange patterns, routing, correlation, etc. The reason
> being that I think we believe we have a good extensibility mechanism
> that allows us to add such features. Time will tell whether this is a
> valid assumption.

Well said... I've been wrestling with this for a while, and the
closest I've come is 'protocol framework' or 'messaging format with
protocol behaviour hooks'.

In the dictionary sense, SOAP is a protocol, but that by itself isn't
too helpful. The common-use meaning of 'protocol' is equally
unhelpful, as people use it to mean different things. It's also
confusing because SOAP is made up of:

* an RPC convention (which is very protocol-ish)
* a serialization mechanism
* an envelope
* bindings (possibly to protocol-y things)

So, the 'edges' of SOAP exhibit protocol-like attributes, but the
'core' doesn't.

Mark Nottingham
Received on Friday, 6 July 2001 14:50:01 UTC

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