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Rethinking the Java SOAP Stack

Loughran, Steve; Smith, Edmund


Keyword(s): SOAP; java; JAXRPC; apache axis; XML; distributed computing

Abstract: This paper examines the current SOAP APIs in Java, and in particular the Java API for XML-based RPC, commonly known as JAX-RPC, which is effectively the standard API for SOAP on the Java platform. We claim that JAX- RPC, and indeed any SOAP API that relies upon a perfect two-way mapping between XML data and native language objects is fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, we claim that the attempt JAX-RPC makes to extend the remote method invocation metaphor to SOAP services is counterproductive. We base our argument both upon experience with JAX-RPC and SOAP, and upon experience of previous distributed computing technologies. We argue that JAX-RPC is not capable of delivering on the SOAP design goals, but conclude by suggesting an alternate system, Alpine, which is free from many known flaws of existing systems, and should prove better able to deliver upon the promise of SOAP. Notes: Edmund Smith, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK

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