RE: Simplified WSDL Syntax

I also agree with Prasad and Amy.  No one wants WSDL 2.0 to be simple and
easy for humans (and machines) to understand more that I do.  In fact this
was my primary motivation for joining the working group.  But this proposal
does not strike me as making things simpler for a WSDL reader/writer (they
will have to know 2 syntaxes) and seems to make things very hard for an

I am very much in favor of defaulting and omitting syntax to make the simple
WSDL simple.  I am not in favor of significantly enhancing the syntax
(particularly in a way that uses significant white space!) to add a "simple"
and "complex" distinction.

Tom Jordahl
Macromedia Server Development

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Prasad Yendluri
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 11:35 AM
Subject: Re: Simplified WSDL Syntax

 I tend to agree. IMO any simplification is better accomplished via 
things that assume defaults when not specified, rather than inventing an 
entirely new syntax for the simplification. Perhaps it is worth looking 
at the work done so far from this angle and keeping this in perspective 
for work to be done. Lets also keep in perspective the complexity of 
tool implementations that need to handle disparate syntax that represent 
the same descriptions. Things like determining the equivalence of two 
WSDLs would get complicated if the syntax is not meshed properly.


Amelia A Lewis wrote:

>I can see a use for simplified syntax, but do not see that this is in
>the charter of the WG to produce as normative.  A useful comparison may
>be drawn with the Relax NG compact syntax, which was promoted following
>the publication of the canonical (XML) syntax, and is only now in
>process of official-ization (it's a de facto standard already; the best
>I'm not terribly thrilled with this particular implementation of
>simplification either, but that's rather beside the point.  I think such
>a syntax may have value, but that
>1) it ought to wait for the stabilization of the canonical syntax
>2) it ought to be worked out and agreed upon externally to the working
>group core, not taken as one of the deliverables per charter
>I'm particularly uncomfortable with the use of significant whitespace,
>btw.  Python does it well; other examples (make is a notorious one) do
>it very badly.
>On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 16:53:54 -0800
>Yaron Goland <> wrote:
>>This letter proposes three new features for WSDL 2.0 intended to make
>>it much easier for users to directly interact with WSDL definitions.
>>The first feature allows for the use of inclusion by value as an
>>addition to WSDL 2.0's current standard mechanism of inclusion by
>>reference. The second feature provides simplified elements that can be
>>used to describe common WSDL scenarios. The third feature provides a
>>simplified serialization for the WSDL 2.0 infoset that makes WSDLs
>>easier to read and write.
>>Below is probably the simplest real world WSDL I could come up with.
>><definitions targetNamespace=""
>>                     xmlns:my="">
>>   <types>
>>      <xs:schema targetNamespace="">
>>         <xs:element name="in" type="xs:string"/>
>>      </xs:schema>
>>   </types>
>>   <interface name="aninterface">
>>      <operation name="anoperation"
>>         <input message="my:in"/>
>>      </operation>
>>   </interface>
>>   <binding name="abinding" interface="my:aninterface">
>>      <wsoap:binding protocol="http://whateveritis"/>
>>   </binding>
>>   <service name="aservice" interface="my:aninterface">
>>      <endpoint name="anendpoint" binding="my:abinding">
>>         <wsoap:address address=""/>
>>      </endpoint>
>>   </service>
>>The previous WSDL has a single in-only operation that is bound to
>>SOAP. It took 11 Elements & 14 attributes to define this, if one
>>ignores the contents of the xs:schema element. Each element and
>>attribute represents a choice that the WSDL designer had to make for a
>>total of 25 decisions.
>>A lot of the complexity in designing a WSDL comes from WSDL's
>>flexibility. Flexibility is a good thing but it isn't something one
>>should be forced to pay for when one doesn't need it. Put another way,
>>a good design rule is that one should only pay the cost for the
>>features one needs.
>>One basic flexibility that leads to a lot of cost is inclusion by
>>reference. In many cases the separation between service, binding and
>>interface definitions in a WSDL are really artificial. That is, the
>>definitions will only be used with each other so the flexibility of
>>by-reference inclusion adds complexity without benefit.
>>Therefore it would seem reasonable to allow implementers a choice
>>between including information by reference or by value.
>>In addition our experience with WSDL 1.1 shows that a vast majority of
>>features are not used in a vast majority of circumstances. This is not
>>an argument to remove the minority features. The extensibility they
>>represent is important for WSDL to be able to grow and when they are
>>needed they are badly needed. But, requiring everyone, everywhere to
>>pay the full complexity of these features when they don't need them
>>seems unfair. Therefore I think it would be a reasonable act on the
>>part of the working group to provide certain shortened forms for very
>>common scenarios. For example, a WSDL interface containing nothing but
>>in-out and in-only and bound to SOAP is likely to be a hugely common
>>scenario for the immediate future. So why not provide a short cut that
>>would make it easier to read and write such common patterns?
>>Below I give an example of a WSDL defined using a combination of
>>by-value and simplified patterns for common usage scenarios.
>><definitions targetNamespace=""
>>                     xmlns:my="">
>>   <service name="my:service">
>>      <interface>
>>         <soapinoperation protocol="http://whateveritis">
>>            <inmessage>
>>               <xs:schema targetNamespace="">
>>                  <xs:element name="in" type="xs:string"/>
>>               </xs:schema>
>>            </inmessage>
>>         </soapinoperation>
>>      </interface>
>>      <soapendpoint address=""/>
>>   </service>
>>7 elements and 6 attributes = 13 decisions (ignoring the contents of
>>the xs:schema element)
>>This is a 48% reduction in complexity. The inevitable cost for
>>reducing complexity is a reduction in choice but given that the
>>previous, if we threw in in-out, represents the 80% case for Web
>>Service WSDLs this seems a reasonable price to pay.
>>There is another step we can take, inspired by XQUERY, which is to
>>provide an alternate serialization to XML. Since WSDL is defined at
>>the InfoSet level providing such an alternate serialization is not a
>>major challenge.
>>definitions targetNamespace = ""/
>>                   xmlns:my = ""
>>   service name="my:service"
>>      interface
>>         soapinoperation protocol="http://whateveritis"
>>            inmessage
>>               xs:schema targetNamespace = ""
>>                  <xs:element name="in" type="xs:string/>
>>      soapendpoint address=""
>>The previous uses a strict positional system to encode element names.
>>3 spaces equal one 'level'. So you know that soapin is a child of
>>interface because soapin is 3 space farther in than interface. WSDL
>>responds well to such a system because most elements have relatively
>>little content. For some things, such as schema, one probably wants to
>>just use XML and so that is made possible. A simple encoding rule,
>>that any child that starts with < is XML, makes it trivial to mix XML
>>and non-XML content.
>>Even the fully verbose WSDL benefits in terms of readability from this
>>definitions targetNamespace=""/
>>                  xmlns:my=""
>>   types
>>      xs:schema targetNamespace=""
>>         <xs:element name="in" type="xs:string"/>
>>   interface name="aninterface"
>>      operation name="anoperation"/
>>                      pattern=""
>>         input message="my:in"
>>   binding name="abinding" interface="my:aninterface"
>>      wsoap:binding protocol="http://whateveritis"
>>   service name="aservice" interface="my:aninterface"
>>      endpoint name="anendpoint" binding="my:abinding"
>>         wsoap:address address=""
>>It is fair to ask - why do we care? What's the big deal of cutting the
>>number of attributes and elements in half? Byte bloat can't be that
>>big a deal, can it?
>>The answer is that our experience with WSDL 1.1 worries us deeply. We
>>have found that the majority of our customers cannot read or write a
>>WSDL, not even with a tool. The result is that customers are generally
>>unwilling to use WSDL outside of the very specific scenario of
>>RPC/Encoded where they treat WSDL as an opaque IDL definition.
>>We firmly believe that for Web Services to meet its promise users must
>>start to build loosely coupled/large grained messages and for that to
>>happen users must become comfortable with WSDL.
>>Therefore we believe it is crucial that normal users in normal
>>circumstances be able to both read and write WSDLs so that they will
>>feel comfortable in leaving behind RPC and moving towards real loose
>>coupling and large grained messaging.

Received on Thursday, 22 January 2004 13:21:27 UTC