The World Wide Web consortium (W3C) has given recommendation status to the latest version, 1.2, of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification — a protocol used for exchanging structured information in distributed Web services environments.
A W3C recommendation is the equivalent of a Web standard, indicating the W3C-developed specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C membership.
Senior analyst for e-business solutions at IDC, David Senf, said the W3C had essentially updated the processing model and also made a number of changes to the header and body elements.
“This allows for better compression performance and interoperability with Web services messages,” he said.
One of the largest complaints around using SOAP and Web services standards, which are based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), was the massive performance hit that organisations took when they started moving over to XML, Senf said.
“XML tags add a lot of extra weight to a file,” he said. “You’re also adding in a lot more processing … and more computational power — that takes a lot of time.
“What the 1.2 spec allows is the compression of data so it’s easier to transport over the wire and also provides for a better performance. This addresses some of the issues around the performance hit that organisations have been taking, who have actually wanted to leverage the interoperability of Web services.”
This enhanced interoperability capability — that stopped organisations being confined to using either HTTP, SML serialisation or even Simple Mail Translator Protocol (SMTP) — also permitted organisations to define their own architecture around SOAP, Senf said.
Not only did this improve the ability to gain interoperability of applications, Senf said, but it also enhanced the ability to leverage functionality from another company and allowed Web services to be interoperable.
Better error handling and internationalisation, an upgraded processing model and alignment with the W3C Web architecture were other features of the revised specification.
W3C also said that IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sun Microsystems have all shown support for the specification.