[OAI-implementers] SOAP-PMH

John Weatherley jweather at ucar.edu
Tue Dec 7 19:26:04 EST 2004

I agree that there are a number of tools that make working with SOAP
convenient in most major programming languages. In Java, for example,
developers can use Apache Axis or Sun's J2EE 1.4 tools to create bindings
at both ends of a SOAP service, and other languages have similar tools
available. In addition, standards are emerging for SOAP that natively
support things like authorization and authentication, integrity and
privacy, etc.

One could argue that REST-full Web services like the OAI-PMH also have a
large number of available tools for working with them.  Developers can
issue REST requests and inspect REST responses in their Web browser;  
Major Web browsers can apply XSLT to render a REST response as HTML
automatically; XML parsers and validators are available in all major
languages that make working with REST responses simple pragmatically; etc.

I believe that this high-accessible nature of the OAI-PMH as a REST-full
service helped contribute to it's widespread adoption. Can anyone name a
SOAP service API that has gained the popularity and breadth of use on both
the producer and consumer ends as that of the OAI-PMH or RSS?

Since the SOAP and REST service approaches offer different advantages, I
think it's not a question of whether the OAI-PMH should convert to using
SOAP but rather whether the OAI should consider developing a SOAP version
of the protocol, similar to the Z39.50 ZING initiative, which offers
something similar to both (SRW and SRU).

 - John

On Tue, 7 Dec 2004, Matthew Cockerill wrote:

> I disagree.
> Sure, in functional terms, a SOAP implementation won't offer anything 
> that isn't available with the current HTTP/GET implementation.
> That's like saying that HTTP isn't worth supporting because it can't do 
> anything you can't do with your own ad hoc protocol over TCP/IP.
> The reason that HTTP is worth supporting is that there are tools 
> (browsers, client libraries, proxies etc) that support it.
> And the same is true of SOAP. For better or worse, SOAP is the best 
> supported standard for making web services (such as OAI-PMH) available.
> And this means that there are high level tools for working with SOAP 
> available in  essentially all major programming languages.
> This makes writing robust clients and glue to consume the service 
> *dramatically* easier. And this in turn will increase uptake of the 
> service.
> Matt
> On 7 Dec 2004, at 21:08, Pete Johnston wrote:
> > As Jeff noted a couple of messages upthread, the issue is not SOAP v
> > OAI-PMH, or search v harvest, but whether an implementation of OAI-PMH
> > semantics over SOAP offers anything that is not available using the
> > current implementation over HTTP GET/POST.
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