W3C ratifies SOAP 1.2

Version 1.2 of the SOAP specification, a foundational technology for Web services, was released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Tuesday, with vendors pledging support in products.

The revised specification, used for exchanging structured information in distributed Web services environments, features improvements such as better error handling and internationalization, an upgraded processing model, and alignment with the W3C Web architecture.

"I think we did a better job [with Version 1.2] of defining the underpinnings of what is the SOAP model," said David Fallside, chairman of the W3C XML Protocol Working Group, which devised SOAP 1.2. Fallside also is a senior technical staff member at IBM Corp., in San Jose, Calif.

Version 1.2 consists of a Messaging Framework, featuring a processing model, or rules for processing a SOAP message. The processing model removes ambiguities found in SOAP 1.1. Also featured is Adjuncts, for representing remote procedure calls, for encoding SOAP messages and describing SOAP features and bindings. Adjuncts also provide a standard binding of SOAP to HTTP, enabling SOAP messages to be exchanged using the mechanisms of the Web.

Other components of Version 1.2 include Specification Assertions and Test Collection, providing a set of tests drawn from assertions in the Messaging Framework and Adjuncts. The tests show whether the assertions are implemented in a SOAP processor and are designed to foster interoperability between different implementations of the SOAP 1.2 specification, according to W3C.

Major vendors, including IBM, Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., and Sun Microsystems Inc., are backing the specification.

"As a major contributor to the XML Protocol Working Group, Oracle is pleased to endorse the W3C SOAP 1.2 Recommendation," said Don Deutsch, vice president of standards strategy and architecture, at Oracle, in a prepared statement. "This standard represents a significant step toward industrywide interoperability of Web services and further demonstrates the importance of the W3C's open, consensus-driven process and rigorous public review."

Oracle plans to support SOAP 1.2 in its Oracle9i database as well as in its application server, JDeveloper development environment, and E-Business Suite of applications.

Sun plans to implement the specification in the Java platform and Sun ONE products. Microsoft expressed intentions to continue supporting Version 1.2, including in next versions of the .Net Framework and Visual Studio development system. IBM said it would incorporate Version 1.2 into its products, also.

The working group tracked implementations of SOAP 1.2 from seven W3C member organizations.

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