W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > xml-dist-app@w3.org > May 2001

Re: SOAPAction Proposal

From: <Noah_Mendelsohn@lotus.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 11:33:47 -0400
To: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Cc: marting@develop.com, xml-dist-app@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFC022E492.BFE4F8B9-ON85256A42.0053B7ED@lotus.com>
Mark Nottingham writes:

>> One of the comments that has come up re: SOAPAction 
>> and SOAP services in general is that making multiple 
>> methods/services available on the same URI (e.g., 
>> depositMoney, withdrawMoney on http://www.bank.com/service) 
>> is fundamentally at odds with the Web architecture, 
>> because all services/resources available on the Web
>> (including Web Services) should be able to be identified by a
>> (singular) URI.

I am sympathetic in principle to this view, but doesn't it force us to:

a) decouple related methods on a conceptually single resource?  e.g. I 
have a file resource, should I have separate URI's to which to send a 
status check like (getLength) vs. a request like (read) or an operation 
like (delete)?  I think it's reasonable to assume that one wishes to do a 
variety of operations on a given resource.  Yes, in some sense the web 
architecture is that everything, and this in principle every operation 
should (be able to) have its own URI.  I'm less convinced, for the reason 
just stated, that one would necessarily send the request to that URI. 
Indeed, in the SOAP architecture, the namespace qualified name of the 
operation (typically in the body) seems to serve the role of uniquely 
identifying the nature of the service.

b)  Taken to its logical conclusion doesn't this require a separate URI 
for every combination of parameters to the service?  After all, the value 
of my bank account last week is a web resource, the value this week is a 
(smaller) resource, etc.  If we really say that everything has a URI, then 
surely there is a resource for last week's state and for this week's? 

So, I think it is indeed useful to be able to name services (or methods if 
you like)  at a quite fine grain, to give them descriptions, etc.  I am 
less convinced that just because a "method" is nameable with a URI that 
one would necessarily send a SOAP request to that URI to invoke the 
service.   Now, one way to deal with this (which I think would be cool in 
principle) would be to encode the SOAP call after the "?" in a URI.  I'd 
like to explore that as an option sometime, but in practice there are 
length restrictions on URIs, etc. that make this somewhat problematic.

Noah Mendelsohn                                    Voice: 1-617-693-4036
Lotus Development Corp.                            Fax: 1-617-693-8676
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Friday, 4 May 2001 14:14:48 UTC

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