W3C Proposes SOAP Standard

After resolving more than 400 issues and identifying seven interoperable implementations, the W3C's XML Protocol Working Group last week released SOAP 1.2 for final review as a standard.

After resolving more than 400 issues and identifying seven interoperable implementations, the W3Cs XML Protocol Working Group last week released SOAP 1.2 for final review as a standard.

The proposed Simple Object Access Protocol 1.2 recommendation consists of SOAP 1.2 Messaging Framework, SOAP 1.2 Adjuncts and a primer, said World Wide Web Consortium officials.

David Fallside, the W3Cs XML Protocol Working Group chairman, said, SOAP 1.2 "brings the [SOAP] 1.1 technology to the level needed for more general deployment to do more of the heavy lifting required" in the enterprise environment for Web services.

The W3C defines SOAP 1.2 as "a lightweight protocol intended for exchanging structured information in a decentralized, distributed environment" like the Web.

The specification is now under final review until June 7.

W3C officials also said SOAP 1.2 integrates core XML technologies, works with W3C XML schemas and is the base for future efforts around Web Services Description Language, although SOAP 1.2 has no dependencies on WSDL, said Fallside, based in Grass Valley, Calif.

Fallside said SOAP 1.2s framework for XML-based messaging systems features the mandatory Messaging Framework in the optional Adjuncts. The Messaging Framework features a processing model, an extensibility framework, the message construct and the protocol- binding framework. SOAP 1.2 Adjuncts includes rules for representing remote procedure calls for encoding SOAP messages and describing SOAP features and SOAP bindings, the W3C said.

"We recast SOAP 1.2 in terms of the infoset," Fallside said. An infoset is an information description of an XML document, he said. "The infoset description does not care about a specific system but about a general model being conveyed in an XML document."

"I think this is a good step for the industry—the final step in a long process towards industry consensus around Web services specifications, and the fact that theyve resolved quite a few interoperability issues," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Waltham, Mass.

Members of the XML Protocol Working Group include AT&T Corp., BEA Systems Inc., IBM, Iona Technologies Inc., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., SAP AG, Sun Microsystems Inc., Systinet Inc., TIBCO Software Inc., Unisys Corp. and others.