UserLand submits SOAP to W3C
Tuesday, May 9, 2000 by Dave Winer.
Earlier today UserLand, Ariba, Commerce One, Compaq, Developmentor, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, IONA, Lotus, Microsoft and SAP jointly proposed to the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) a new protocol called the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) that will allow new applications connecting desktop applications to Internet servers using the standards of the Internet, HTTP and XML.
Includes quotes from Tod Nielsen, Tim O'Reilly, Noah Mendelsohn, Kevin Werbach, Jakob Nielsen, Doc Searls, Fredrik Lundh and Paul Everitt.
Standardized distributed computing protocols will make it easier for developers of Web applications to integrate functionality with each other. For example, membership information can be exchanged between sites from different companies, running in different server environments. I believe this will have an effect on the structure of the Internet industry, as companies implementing standardized interfaces have opportunities to acquire or merge with companies they are compatible with.
Further, the philosophy of SOAP is no lock-in. If one vendor implements a SOAP interface for a Web application, then that application can be replaced by a competitive service that supports an equivalent interface. Microsoft, as the dominant operating system vendor and a serious competitor in the server operating system business, is to be commended, in UserLand's opinion, for taking a leading role in this area. Other developers of server operating systems are encouraged to support SOAP, and accept the no lock-in challenge. This will be good news for customers and for developers of network applications.
UserLand is playing a leading role in the deployment of network applications that interface through XML-over-HTTP. We already have four full network apps, Manila, MailToTheFuture, a preferences distribution system and a search engine that are scriptable through these protocols. We have dozens of littler ones, this technology has basically become a standard part of our development process. As far as we know, we are at this time the only developer to have deployed public applications that are accessible in this way. All our interfaces are open, publicly documented and subject to competition, which is welcome.
I have the zeal of a True Believer, I think that this is what the Grown Up Web was meant to be, combining the best that HTTP has to offer and great server operating systems, and the best that the desktop has to offer in tools and user interfaces.
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