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RE: What is a SOAP Message

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 11:12:41 -0500
To: "David Orchard" <dorchard@bea.com>
Cc: "'Jean-Jacques Moreau'" <jean-jacques.moreau@crf.canon.fr>, xml-dist-app@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF8170168C.E5132747-ON85256CC3.0056ABA9@lotus.com>

No, I think this still misses the distinction.  Specifically, the data 
that moves from point to point in SOAP is, in general, more than what is 
within the scope of the application/soap+xml content type.  It includes a 
potentially unbounded set of feature-specific data that is represented 
outside of that media type.  One simple example is the so-called Web 
Method (GET/PUT/POST), which the HTTP binding represents in the obvious 
http-specific manner, but other bindings (MQSeries, perhaps?) will 
represent using some other transport-specific means. 

I find the term "SOAP Message" to be about right for the collection of 
state >that is modelled by SOAP above the binding-specific layer< and that 
moves from one node to another per the SOAP architecture.  I think that is 
distinct from the envelope, which is indeed the part of the (transmission 
unit formerly known as message) that is indeed in media type 

Using my terminology, my impression of the options wrt the issue that 
Gudge has raised can be explained as:

* Traditional (Noah):  The "message" consists of all the SOAP-modeled 
data, including not just the envelope but potentially other properties 
defined by features.  One such feature is the attachment feature, which 
defines properties for the parts [1].  The representation of such 
properties is at the discretion of the feature and the protocol binding. 
For example, DIME provides a concrete implementation of the attachment 
feature.  In general, parts (other than the envelope itself) are modeled 
as being external to the envelope.

* Infoset-based (Gudge):  There are two infosets for each message related 
by a binding-specific transform (not necessarily an XSLT transform.)  By 
definition, one of these includes in its XML Infoset some reprsentation of 
every piece of data that would have been in the "message", as I have 
defined it above.  For example, a part which would otherwise be binary 
might be modeled in characters using a schema type of  hexBinary.  This 
first infoset provides unity for the processing model, but is often too 
verbose for efficient processing in memory or on the wire.  The 
responsibility of the binding is to transmit this infoset, but it is given 
hints about problematic content such as that which is of hexBinary type. 
The binding can use such hints to provide optimized representations on the 
wire (carrying the binary as true binary).  A transform can be used to 
create a second SOAP envelope which has the binary information replaced 
with pointers to the protocol-specific serialization (this is the second 
infoset listed above).  The binding can, if desired, transmit this second 
infoset in the same manner as a traditional SOAP implementation would 
transmit the envelope.  Presumably, not just the wire representation but 
also the in-memory representations of large binary objects can be 

Gudge:  is this explanation correct?  I still have many doubts about this 
proposal, but I think it's always healthy if one person can explain 
another's proposal.  Thanks.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-soap12-af-20020814/

Noah Mendelsohn                              Voice: 1-617-693-4036
IBM Corporation                                Fax: 1-617-693-8676
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

"David Orchard" <dorchard@bea.com>
02/04/2003 10:18 AM

        To:     "'Jean-Jacques Moreau'" <jean-jacques.moreau@crf.canon.fr>, 
        cc:     <xml-dist-app@w3.org>
        Subject:        RE: What is a SOAP Message

Maybe a good word for the bag of bits that some are calling a message 
be better served being called a representation?  This would show a clean
relationship between the web and web services at the messaging level.  The
TAG's work [1] isn't very far along, but it shows a start.

And if we don't a call a "message" a representation, then we probably 
to provide some explanation on how a message and a representation relate.
It might be as simple as "A SOAP Message is defined as a representation 
contains a SOAP envelope, binding specific additional data, and has the
application/soap+xml content type".



> -----Original Message-----
> From: xml-dist-app-request@w3.org
> [mailto:xml-dist-app-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Jean-Jacques Moreau
> Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 12:30 AM
> To: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
> Cc: xml-dist-app@w3.org
> Subject: Re: What is a SOAP Message
> I also make the same distinction between messages and envelopes.
> I have seen the confusion made in other groups as well. So,
> +1 to your suggested clarification.
> Jean-Jacques.
> noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com wrote:
> > During today's AFTF telcon we got into a discussion as to
> exactly what a
> > SOAP Message is.  Gudge pointed out that in several places
> in part 1 it
> > says or strongly implies that a SOAP Message >is< an XML
> Envelope Infoset.
> > I had always assumed we were clear that the "term message"
> refers not just
> > to the envelope, but to a set of information which includes
> at minimum the
> > envelope, but often other information as well (e.g., the destination
> > address, WebMethod, and Action tend to be sent out of band
> in SOAP http).
>  > [...]
> >
> > I think it's useful and appropriate to separate the term
> "message" from
> > "envelope". [...] I think we should consider clarifying our
> terminology.
Received on Tuesday, 4 February 2003 11:16:03 UTC

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